When those little ones came to my house, we had to be sure to put the lovely, delicate things away. Carefully tucking and child-proofing all the pretties so tempting to their curious eyes, we tried to put ourselves inside their searching minds and pre-empt inquisitive fingers getting into everything in sight.
Without fail there was always something we overlooked and then, awkwardly taking the latest “treasures” from sticky hands while the wails arose, their parents nonchalantly sipped coffee and laughed at how “kids will be kids”.
This particular dance often became exhausting to me. Don’t misunderstand, I have a naturally generous nature and don’t see the “things” of more value than the child. Of course I’d be happy to give it away. But when the item is taken without the opportunity to give, well, that has an entirely different feeling altogether.
Over the past 20 years, I have seen this scenario played out over and over again. Surprising to me, every time, sometimes the sticky fingers belong to teenagers. Even more surprising has been a few adults stealthily (or not-so-stealthily) eyeballing something, petting it fondly, while not-so-subtly hinting they would like me to “give” it to them.
When did that become OK?
An entitlement mentality is more than just awkward and inconvenient; it’s the selfish belief that YOU have a RIGHT to something.
Entitlement eliminates faith and Christians who indulge in it become shriveled little souls of ugly. Seriously. You do. And your deeply entrenched belief that life and those who live next to you OWE you something makes the rest of us cringe and feel as though we’d like to be far, far away from you and yours.
It’s not a pretty truth, but there it is.
Instead of fostering a sense of gratitude for the shared opportunities and the privilege of friendship, family, provision, entitlement spotlights the crafty, unlovely, yearning for those things which belong to another.
Are you tired of this mentality? Want to change? Together, we can work harder building a REVERENCE for the life we’ve been given. Let’s give up on this greedy lie that says more money, bigger houses, fancier cars, and better shoes are the worthier pursuits?
How do you build reverence? How does one cultivate a sense of reverence?
Reverence… A deep respect for….
God? Others? Our homes? Our families? Opportunities?
How does one produce reverence? You start by getting busy investing in changing yourself. THEN focus on sharing this grace filled gratitude with your children, friends, and family. You will be like a sparkling diamond in a society of CZ. The fakes around you are presume they have a “right” to your gifts, resources, and love. Don’t join them in that facade of relationship death.
Start here, it won’t hurt, much…
- Let go of any “right” you believe you may have to good things in your life.
- Practice gratitude. Especially when you have to look for it. Hard.
- Practice service. Do for others BEFORE they do for you.
- Live simply. This helps you to simply live.
- Earn what you have. Avoid borrowing and credit. Give your children this opportunity as well.
- Don’t run away from the consequences of personal choices, good or bad. Own your weaknesses and then look at who is still with you, even though you are foolish, weak, and flawed.
- Celebrate your triumphs in community; see who is with you to share the glow of success without resenting or undermining your achievement.
- Work hard. No matter what you do, throw the whole weight of your effort, energy, and passion into it.
Will doing all these things guarantee a transformation of attitude and behavior in your family?
Well, I can’t answer that for you, but, I can say living this way will go far toward making positive personal changes. If the parent makes these choices then the children will be far more likely to fall into the behaviors lived honestly in front of them. They can begin to see it is even POSSIBLE.
You can choose to live as an entitled parasite living off the generosity and kindness of the people around you or you can live within a life-giving outflow of God’s grace and love.
You can’t do both at the same time.
Practice a Spirit of Reverence. Offering the opportunity to cultivate respect is worth far more to your children than any other kind of riches you might offer.