Is Entitlement Generational?

A friend posted a really interesting article today, it was from the Business Insider and it was about who the most entitled generation is.  I will summarize but I wont go into great detail.  if you would like to read it here is the link http://www.businessinsider.com/the-most-entitled-generation-isnt-millennials-2015-1.  It basically said that the millennials are being blamed for being entitled because “we are a lazy cohort of entitled and narcissistic brats — the proverbial Generation Me”.  The go on to say that the actual entitled generation is the Baby Boomer generation who focus on short term economic boosts that serve themselves and not future generations.  I completely agree yet disagree with this article.

I agree with this article because taken at surface value they are right.  The older generation which is currently in power are far more concerned with their own economic gain than they are on the greater good for the country as well as future generations.  Politicians make decisions based on who pays them the most, most of them have stock in major companies that focus more on profits than on whats good for the people, or even what is ethical.  Government agencies are being run by people who hold stock in companies they are supposed to keep in check.  The government today is extremely corrupt, and it is mainly being run by the baby boomers, so yes they would be blamed for being the “entitled generation”.

I disagree though because I honestly believe that it has nothing to do with generations and everything to do with accessibility.  I think the author of this article forgot to look at history, as most people do.  I think we can, based on the assumptions of the article, completely predict what is going to happen in the next 50 years or so.  How can we predict, because history repeats itself.  The ideas proposed by the millennials aren’t new ideas.  In fact many of them are taken directly from the baby boomers when they were that age.  Look at the counterculture of the 1960’s.  Instead of gaining momentum from the Civil Rights movement we have the LGBT movement.  Instead of the Vietnam War we have the War on Terror.  Women’s Rights are making a comeback.  Take a second look at the hippie and bohemian lifestyle.  The farm, Haight Ashbury, communes.  We now have the tiny house movement, co-op farming, even the communes are making a comeback.  These ideas aren’t new.  Focusing on alternative energy, getting ourselves away from under the corporate thumb, even the Occupy movement isn’t a new idea.

If these ideas were shared by the generation that we are now claiming are “entitled” and doing the same things they were fighting against, what went wrong and how can we prevent it?

I think the problem comes in with how America is set up and how forgetful we are.  In the 1960’s as in today The younger generation was upset with the focus on material possessions that the older generation was focused on.  In both instances there is a huge push to separate ourselves from material possessions.  The problem comes in where as the dissatisfied generation grows up the opportunities that were denied to them by the older generation now becomes available.  They are now in charge of companies, the government, have the ability to make the money they didn’t have access to before.  Now all the material possessions they couldn’t have before are available to them.  Greed sets in.  The article even says “More than any other generation, we eschew expensive possessions like cars and large houses, opting instead for bikes and shared living spaces. Sure, we would like to own all that fancy stuff someday, but we realize that we can’t have everything we want.” Two things about this: 1) l think the baby boomers shunned these material possessions just as much when they were the same age. and 2) Even the author is admitting that if they did have the resources they would “own all that fancy stuff one day”.  Thus becoming their parent’s generation.  To truly fix the system, to truly be a generation that will “make the “hard” choices the baby boomers have refused to make.” we have to first stop WANTING these things.  We can’t complain about the older generation being “entitled” just because they have the things that we want.  Nothing will change if this is the case.  To truly make a difference, to truly make a real change we have to finally put what is right for our country above money and material possessions, and i don’t think this generation gets it either.

What life means to me

It seems that as we get closer and closer to our goal I realize more and more about what we are doing and why we are doing it.  At first it started out as us wanting to finally be self sufficient.  We are at a place in our lives where we can’t be living like this anymore.  We can’t be living paycheck to paycheck praying that we can feed our children, pay for gas, or constantly asking people to help us with things.  I FEEL like I am taking advantage of people.  Whether or not I actually AM isn’t the point, I feel like I am and I don’t like it.  We should be helping others more than asking others for help.  I’m not saying we should never ask for help, that’s silly.  Everybody needs help at one point or another, it’s the fact that I feel like I am constantly asking for help that upsets me.

During this process we made the decision that we were going to use our resources to help others become more self sufficient and confident in themselves.  We know how it feels to be in that situation.  How tiring it is, how down on yourself you get, and how hard it is to get out of it.  We want to show people how they can.  We want to have excess food to give to people, we want to teach people how to cut down on their monthly spending, become better members of the global society, and we want to give away our excess income to aid others.  This is something we are very passionate about.

One thing we don’t want to do is boast about it.  I honestly believe that real charity asks for no praise.  Most of the charity we do is anonymous,  It’s between us and God.  Nobody else has to know, in fact most times I never see the response to my charity.  There is a part of me that wants to, but I know it’s best for me if I don’t.

The sermon at church today was about just this, which is what has spawned my post today.  One of the things he brought up was that it’s ok to consider ourselves saints.  We have such a stigma on the term “saint” from the Catholic church, but (if I have this right), we are actually saints in that we are sanctified by Jesus.  As much as I may agree with this sentiment I will consider myself sanctified but I know myself better than to consider myself a saint.  Not that I am not a saint, because by this definition I am, but because once I start to consider myself a saint I will start to think more highly of myself than I should.  I do not want to put my actions on a pedestal, I do not want to mentally pat myself on the back for doing good, or boast about my actions to others.  I know that I need to separate myself from this in order to remain humble.  I do these things because I am no better than anybody else.

He also spoke about our own personal ministry.  How we minister to other people.  To me, this project is my ministry.  Now don’t get me wrong, C does not share my religious ideas, this isn’t a “we are going to make you feel uncomfortable if you don’t share our religious beliefs” kind of project.  Not in the least.  C is agnostic, I was a Buddhist for 11 years, some of my family is Muslim, we have friends of every religion, we love everyone.  Am i going to hide my religion from you to make you feel comfortable? No.  Am I going to push it on you and tell you that you are going to hell for not believing in Jesus, or that you don’t deserve my love?  Never, that’s absurd.  Before i converted to Christianity someone from my old church, while trying to convert me, asked me how I will feel when my son comes to me someday and asks me why i’m ok with going to hell.  my response was 2 fold: 1) Buddhists don’t believe in hell and 2) No child of mine will ever tell another person that they are going to hell.  No matter what religion they chose it is their job to love other people, leave the judgement up to God.  I still strongly believe in the later.  I also believe that Buddhists don’t believe in hell, but I’m not a Buddhist anymore.

There are 2 things I will not hide from you.  The first is that my love comes from Jesus.  I love you as Jesus loves me.  The second is that no matter what religion you are, or non religion, I feel it’s important to find people that keep you grounded.  For years I went to church even though I wasn’t a Christian because it kept me closer to the person I wanted to be.  I reminded me that I am not perfect and that I needed to put others before myself.  Without it I become selfish and egocentric.  I lose my peace, and I don’t like myself.  I urge you to find people to talk to, find a place to worship, find what makes you a better you.

We want to help others find their peace.  It’s so easy to become caught up in the craziness and constant hurry of life but there is so much more to life than that.  We need to step back and find what makes us happy, what helps us breath.  That to me is life.

It’s not about you

I know I have mentioned this before, but I get frustrated at people very easily.  It’s a huge flaw, a giant flaw, a flaw that I really try to work on.  As I try and work through this flaw of mine I have come to realize that I get frustrated at the selfishness of other people.  I just want to yell at people, “it’s not about you”.  The world isn’t about us.  I know its easiest to put ourselves first in this world, but when you think about it we are a blip, each and every person is just a tiny blip in the history of the world.  We should be striving to make the world better instead of trying to make the world serve us.

Don’t get me wrong, i am no saint, i am far far from being  saint.  I am not perfect.  I will never claim to be perfect.  I made a realization a long time ago that I could never be happy if I continued to think I was the center of the world.  I searched a lot for the peace that I felt I needed to be happy and in that search I found the teaching of Buddhism.  I am now a Christian, I have been for about three years, but I still cling to many of the Buddhist philosophies that are actually the philosophies of many religions that have been forgotten or passed over.  The thing that really struck me was that in order to be at peace you need to put others first.  I learned to ask several very important questions, like how are my actions effecting those around me?  Will my actions hurt those around me or hurt myself? is what i want congruent with what is best for the world?  Will I be hurting the Earth? Questions like that.  My answers always came in the form of this; if my actions are hurting myself or my environment then i need to change them, if they are hurting myself then i need to find an alternative that does not hurt others, or perform those actions and take the suffering myself.   It is not in my power to decide that someone else should suffer for my own well being.  I apologize when i have wronged others despite my own pride, and that hurts.  Going against your own pride is very painful.  It’s also cathartic.  The one that I have not been able to get past though is not expecting things from others, or not being upset when others disappoint me,  I think this is where my frustration towards others comes in.  I think I expect everyone to ask themselves these same questions and come up with these same answers.

How has my life changed because of this? I try to be very careful about the things I say about other people.  Do i succumb to mindless gossip?  Oh heck ya.  There are people who annoy the crap out of me and I would love nothing more than to tell everyone about why I don’t like those people, but I know better than that.  I also know that if i did I would have to apologize to them at some point, so I keep those thoughts to myself because I am not ready for that.

I also have dietary restrictions.  They aren’t life threatening, I don’ have an allergy, i will not end up in the hospital, so when I am with other people and they are offering their hospitality in the form of food I forgo my dietary restrictions for their own comfort.  I get upset when I spend time and energy on meals for other people only to have them not eat it for various reasons, I know how much it hurts me and I would never wish that on another person.  I follow my dietary restrictions when i am home but I will never force them on another person.  When people come to my house though they can be sure that 99% of what they are eating is preservative free.

I have very strong beliefs on how the world should work, and how other people should treat each other.  I believe that you should care about yourself and what you put on or in your body.  I do not believe that your own personal beliefs should cause harm to those around you.  A fellow business person caused me to lose quite a few of my clients over a personal belief that she had which she chose to share publicly, not even considering how it would effect my business.  Due to her actions I chose not to purchase from her business.  Do i tell others not to?  No i would never do that.  I know this hurt, I know how it feels for people to take away business and I would never do that to another person, no matter how much I want to.  I also know that someday I will purchase from her again, because I know that it’s what is right, but not while the wound is still fresh.  I don’t need an apology from her, i need to forgo my own hurt pride.

When C started working at his other job, the one that screwed him over, one of the first things he did was get raises for the workers under him because he felt they needed it and deserved it more than him.  They had been there longer and were getting barely over minimum wage.  He could have taken the raise himself, he could have done what other managers have done and take the hours himself and cut his coworkers hours when it got slow, but he didn’t because he knew what was right, and I know that God works things out. if we follow his will and put others first we wont forgo suffering, but He will cover us somehow, and He always has.

Lastly I try to make sure that my own personal beliefs do not damage the environment.  I recycle as much as I can or purchase things in reusable or recyclable containers.  Our family of 4.5 (one is a part time child) produces 1 bag of trash (kitchen bag, not 33 gallon bag) every 2 weeks.  I started looking at our trash and what we were throwing away and realized that I was throwing away a lot of things that could be reusable.  We use cloth diapers for our children.  It takes more energy for me to clean them, but I am not adding to the diaper waste in landfills.  It also only adds an extra $5 of water a month to our bill.  I also don’t wash them in bleach.  I wash everything in a washing soda, borax, and dawn mixture.  It is amazing.  My clothes have never been so clean.  I also clean the house with hot water, white vinegar, and dawn.  We haven’t bought paper towels in over 2 years.  I have a stack of small washcloths I use to clean with.  I also have a stack of softer washcloths i use for baby wipes that i wash with the diapers.  Our milk comes in glass jars, i typically don’t put vegetables in the plastic bags at the grocery store unless they are small and i have to.  We buy very little packaged food and what we do buy the packages are recyclable.  We compost everything that we can, including our Christmas tree once we take it down.

This is where my annoyance for others come in.  I know it’s wrong, I know it’s actually selfish of me to feel this way, but it gets me so aggravated.  I have my personal beliefs, and they are my personal beliefs.  I frustrates me when I watch other people say they share in those beliefs but they do it in a selfish way.  They force others to compensate for those beliefs, they make others feel inferior for not sharing those beliefs, or they only follow the beliefs that directly pertain to themselves and their own well being.  I want to tell them that they missed the point.  it’s not about you.  it’s never about you.  It’s about doing what’s best for the world around you.  You can’t say you love others and in the same conversation put them down or make them feel inferior. it’s a half-assed attempt to do what you know is right.  Have faith that if you do what is right things will still work out in the end.  It will at least bring you peace.