When I was in my teens there seemed to be a few young people who were super hard workers and/or super hard on themselves and a few very lazy and entitled people my while most of us were more in the middle between the two extremes. The current younger generations seems to be the opposite with a very small group in the middle and most young people being one extreme or the other. For instance, what’s expected of young athletes and dancers these days blows me away; I don’t know how they handle the pressure. Meanwhile, other kids play video games or on their phones all day. I could be wrong, but this is how I would separate the millennials and younger generations with us older generations who are overall better at showing up for work and taking responsibility seriously. As many managers complain, getting young people to show up for work for every shift is very difficult. That being said, as much as I love to make fun of the younger generations (in a fun way… at least it’s fun to me), our culture, in general, seems to be getting into this entitled mentality. It’s like we’ve moved into a very me-first world and what I want is more important than the greater good for the greatest number of people. It’s like people have forgotten the difference between a right and a privilege.
Understanding what a privilege is becomes very important because it helps us be more appreciative. We become less demanding and we’re more inclined to say thank you. If you think about it, most things are a privilege. It’s a privilege to be able to have loving family who are alive, to be able to vote, to drive/own a car, to fly in a plane, to have paid vacation time (self employed people don’t), to have days off work every week (many farmers don’t), to own land, to use a toilet (some countries have a hole in the ground), to have medicine and/or insurance, toothpaste, and even a minimum wage, especially a minimum wage that’s ridiculously high compared to what I made as a teen. I made $6.85 for my job at the movie theater (theaters being another privilege and that wage very good compared to what others made before me) and I was bragging about making $9/hr doing slave labour for a construction company; meanwhile I hear people complain they only make $15 flipping burgers. I recently heard about several young people who freaked out that their parents wouldn’t pay for their cell phone when they had a full time job! I also know millenials who think their parents owe them a car and a place to live even if they’re working full time. When I lived at home until I was 35 (like a winner) I was sucking up hard to have that privilege because that’s what it was – a privilege. Why have we forgotten that the world doesn’t owe us anything? A friend of mine at 18 was dropped off at an apartment downtown by his dad who said I just paid your first month’s rent… good luck. That alone is crazy, but what takes this event to a higher level of crazy is my friend’s mom had just died, which sparked the dad’s action. My friend hadn’t even done anything wrong and was instead dealing with intense grief when he was kicked out. His dad just didn’t want him around with the mom gone. But the reality is living at home is a privilege and not a right after a certain age (it varies on where you live whether 16 or 18).
On a talk radio show the other day I found I had to turn the station because I heard a situation that made me too angry to listen. It was oozing privilege being confused for a right. I will admit that not listening to the whole discussion I may have missed something, but here is the scenario: A mother had brought her six year old son to a mall in London, Ontario, and the Disney Store forced her to leave because her son wouldn’t wear a mask. She tried to explain that he had autism, but the staff enforced the mask rule over her individual situation. The reporter wanted to cause an uproar over the store denying this child with autism from being allowed in the store, especially as the mom complained that she drove two hours to take her son there. On the surface it sounds bad – how can you be mean to someone with autism – but here’s what made me angry… and there’s a few things. We are in a pandemic situation, which means even more than usual someone’s individual wants are not as important as the greater good of everyone around them. When this event happened, most of the province like London was in stage 3 while Windsor was still in stage 2 because it was so infected by Covid. Why are you leaving an area that is one of the worst in Canada for Covid? You are a greater risk for everyone else. Here is another problem: Why are you bringing your child to a mall when he can’t wear a mask? Don’t you care about your child? I’m in a city that’s considerably safe and I’m still hesitant to bring my children to stores because they’re too young to wear masks. If your child isn’t able to wear a mask, you’re putting your child at a greater risk. More importantly, think of the other parents. Not only will it cause other parents anxiety seeing a child without a mask, but what child wearing a mask won’t start questioning and/or complaining about wearing one when that kid isn’t? These other parents now have to fight with their own kids to keep their masks on. This one woman’s selfish want would cause an unfair domino effect of frustration and anxiety for everyone else. I can see if they were in line to get medicine; yeah, okay, but the Disney Store isn’t medicine. I love Disney (arguably more than I should), but I’m not dying by not going to the store. Visiting the store is a privilege and not a right.
If you want to buy their child a new toy during the pandemic, go for it (still a privilege), but your child doesn’t have to be with you. If you want your child to just wander the store for fun, that’s not even benefiting the store. I love window shopping, but these aren’t normal times. Why is this woman making a big deal out of not being allowed to go in a store? Why is this woman driving two hours one way to go to a mall? My guess is it wasn’t because her son was begging her for the long drive, but she bribed him to go there with Disney because she wanted to go shopping. Not only was she being selfish by going to the mall, she’s now made an incident. If nothing else, if you make others uncomfortable, shouldn’t you care? I get so angry when people play the victim. She’s twisting a situation with the help of the media to make noise when she’s really confused a right with a privilege. We live in a world full of wonderful things, but we need to remember they’re a privilege and not a right in order to be more appreciative and less self entitled.
This week may you consider why it’s important to remember the importance of seeing the world doesn’t revolve around me or you and that that the greatest good for the greatest number of people became a belief for a reason.
Rev. Chad David, ChadDavid.ca, Learning to love dumb people