Friday, February 03, 2012

The Pet Peeve Summary, or why you dropping off your kid in the driveway of the house across the street from the school makes me mad

The 3.5 faithful readers know that I've published rants in the past about my pet peeves. Now I don't have many (there's probably less than 10; I was going to link to old posts, but frankly I'm being too lazy right now), but the ones that tick me off, REALLY tick me off.

But last week as I dropped my daughter off at school, and once again watched a number of parents who think that the rules of the drop-off just don't apply to them (endangering their own children and others!), it hit me.

American exceptionalism has come home to roost in the soul of individuals. And it's called entitlement.

Entitlement has become a bad word in conservative circles, as it refers to the excesses around "safety net" programs of federal assistance, meant to help those in financial crises not fall through the cracks, but have a net that protects them from free fall. These programs do a lot of good, but for some have become places of entitlement, where with everything from food stamps to social security we believe that we are guaranteed certain benefits. We manipulate the system as much as possible for our own profit. By no means do I think that this is the majority of people in these programs, nor do I necessarily think that this means the program is bad, but there's ample evidence of people who game the system.

But the type of entitlement I'm referring to here is actually something different, and while it's more subtle, it's far more insidious to our overall well-being. It's an entitlement that doesn't try to game the system, but an entitlement that says "the system doesn't apply to me, at least in these circumstances." It is a sense of individual exceptionalism that says "I don't have to follow these rules," because I'm too important, too much in a hurry, or my kid is more important than yours, or my car is more expensive than yours, etc. etc.

After all, we deserve the best, right?

Yes, this sense of entitlement is much more prevalent than the usually-discussed-by-conservatives kind. And quite frankly I see it as even more common in those who have been successful in life at one level or another.

But I think that the teachings of Jesus, when they take root in us, will destroy this sense of individual exceptionalism. When we have the mind of Christ, we begin to think of "others as more important than ourselves."  We learn to serve those around us, learn to be last instead of first, and see ourselves as stewards of God's resources, not owners of our own.

So here's my ultimate pet peeve (and there's no way around the fact that I'm all too guilty of this myself), people who ignore the system because of a sense of personal exceptionalism and entitlement.

Maybe with this I can just cut my pet peeves down to 1...


Lori Stilger said...

TRUTH! And it's starting to permeate some churches I've visited. Thanks for venting! ;)

Terry said...

Perhaps what is missing is that we are no longer teaching our children to be considerate of others. Years ago we were taught that if someone was in a hurry or needed something, we should step aside and let them through. We were taught to be patient when driving, allowing vehicles to pull in front of us. We were expected to be on time and respect one another. Now it is more like a dog eat dog world. Grab as much as you can before someone else gets it. Your comments are very insightful into our world. Thanks.

Arnie Adkison said...

Thanks, Lori, and I think you're right. Too many who claim the name Christian and go to church on Sundays do not model the behavior and attitude of Jesus himself.

Terry, I certainly agree with the need to teach our children consideration of others!

Vicki Adkison said...

rpb5ticaI am late in reading this post but it got me to thinking of our pastors' comments in sermons lately about Christians. There are so many Christians in our world that are in church or don't even attend because they think as Christians it's not needed.They seem to think as Christians the term sinner doesn't apply to us an longer.As he pointed out,we're all sinners and maybe should carry around a big sign that says it.That's why we go to church,cause we are sinners.But thru grace HE saved us.Some think it entitles them to just stay home or do whatever they want now, since they're Christians, but God wants us all the time.I love attending our church.We all need to hear HIS word preached and be with our fellow believers. I miss it when I've had to miss.I love my church family and what attending gives me for the coming week.Love you son. Mom