Friday, October 17, 2008

Entitled Generation

I've been thinking lately, along with most citizens, about the economic issues affecting our country and I wonder if the way our children are being raised has caused at least a part of this mess. Let me give an example and we'll see if this post makes any sense by the end of it.

About 30 years ago, I played little league soccer. One year I was part of a team that was absolutely terrible. All the other teams looked forward to playing against us, because they knew that they would win. I don't remember winning a single game that year. The only thing I have to show for playing that year is a picture of my team that my parents bought. Another year I was on a very good team. We only lost one game the whole season. All the kids on my team were given a trophy that said "1st Place."

For many years, little league associations have tried to emphasize that "winning isn't everything." In doing this, some little league associations have even given "participation" trophies. All kids that play get the same trophy. What we are telling our kids is just go out and "participate" and you will get something of value. To me this is absolutely the wrong thing to do. Kids need to be taught that if you want something of value, you have to work for it. We are creating a generation that feels entitled to receive something of value, just for showing up.

One problem that I believe has caused the current economic situation is that "kids" were able to purchase larger homes than they could afford using stupid financing schemes. These "kids" were then able to have something of great value without having to put in the necessary work. In other words they were given something of value just for showing up. I'll bet many of them even felt that they were "entitled" to it.

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