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Are We Becoming an Entitled Generation?

Updated on August 14, 2019
Stefanie Daubert44 profile image

Stefanie is a Master of Social Work student, and works as a Recovery Specialist. She has over 13 published opinion pieces.

Are We Becoming an Entitled Generation?

As I read about several politicians recently, talking about how this country needs to cancel all student debt, at first, I thought, “That would be nice. I have plenty of student loans.” Upon thinking more about this though, I know this would not be the right thing to do. I then thought about other situations where people are getting things for free. I asked myself, “Is not having to work hard for anything, or pay for something, creating a sense of entitlement in people?”

One first needs to look at what entitlement really means. The dictionary defines “entitled” as believing oneself to be inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment. Why would a person feel like they deserved special treatment or privileges?” I do not feel that I deserve anything. I believe in working hard to get what I want. I believe that by giving something to someone, without having any part of contributing financially and other steps to accomplishing it, it takes the meaning away from it.

An example of this is looking at what is happening with youth sports. I always played sports, especially soccer, since I was a young child. I had a very hard coach. At the time I thought she was mean, but she pushed me to be the best I could be. Because of this, I learned that my hard work would pay off. It made me a better player and a better person. I learned what competition is all about. I learned that if you want to win, you must work harder than everyone else. The thrill of knowing that your hard work leads to first place, and receiving a trophy for the hard work, was so exciting as a kid. It teaches so many valuable lessons.

Youth sports have changed though. People want all the kids to get a trophy. They do not want children to get first, second, or third place, because it might hurt another kid’s feelings who does not win. What lesson is this teaching the children? It is the sense of entitlement. They deserve privileges and special treatment, after they did not earn it. What is the effect of this? The children learn that they do not have to work hard to win. They feel like everyone deserves to win, even if one person works really hard, while they may not. Is this causing more children to work hard? I do not believe it does. I think that is causes children to stop trying as hard. Why would you need to try, if you get the same result as everyone else?

If children start learning this sense of entitlement at a young age, it will be engrained in their minds. As they get older, they will continue to think that they deserve more and more, without working for it. This is where free college comes into play. I know that I had to take out student loans to go to school. They are especially high for my master’s degree, although I get some of my school paid for by scholarships. By knowing that I have student loans, and that I will have to start paying on them a few months after graduating, it gives me the incentive to try to find a good job as soon as possible. It makes me want to find the best job that I can, to make the most money that I can, as well as having the best benefits and retirement.

I believe that teaching kids about hard work needs to begin in the home. By parents teaching their kids about the value of working hard, it will have a great impact on their lives. If parents rely on outside forces, to teach this lesson, they may be in for a surprise. The more time passes, the more I have witnessed people thinking they deserve things they didn’t earn, from not working hard. I believe that everyone should have the incentive to work hard, and to be responsible for paying for the steps taken to accomplish their goals. Once they have paid off school, or any other goal, the reward is a tremendous sense of accomplishment.

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© 2019 Stefanie Daubert

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