We most definitely have, at the core of character issues in this country, an excessive entitlement problem.  Don't get me wrong, entitlement in its rawest selfish form is just a by-product of our humanity, our human ways.  Much like a newborn's first word(s) is NO.  We are all a piece of work from the get go.  It is a life-long journey to not be selfish, self-centered, full of self.  To not motor through life jockeying and protecting our misguided higher-than-it-should-be status of self.  Entitlement was first introduced by Franklin Roosevelt in the 1933 with The New Deal.  Its emphasis was on creating jobs for the unemployed during those years of the Great Depression.  Its many programs were designed to stimulate the economy.  It was designed for short-term use.  Roosevelt's predecessor, Herbert Hoover, president when the stock market crashed in 1929, believed it was not smart for government to become entrenched in people's economic struggles.  Fast forward to modern times.  Roosevelt would have no doubt sanctioned a massive financial market bailout.  Politics aside (calm down everyone!), right-wrong-or indifferent, those programs started a shift toward more entitlement.  Entitlement is a bit like an m&m or a salty potato chip.  Who wants to stop at just one?  Who wants to eat only one serving size of oreos?  Which, by the way, is only 2 cookies:)  Our human nature, given the opportunity, will push the envelope.  I think entitlement has spilled over from government programs, to the way parents have and are raising kids, the way schools facilitate education, to how we treat our fellow man over basic human behaviors in every day life.  Entitlement really has created a way of society that involves hand-outs, praise for mediocrity, rude public behavior, and a lack of self-discipline.  It has affected our country, our politics, created our excessive national debt and monumental personal debt, crippled our financial system, our schools, our churches, our prison systems, our kids, and me.  Entitlement has made luxury into necessity. It has skewed our view of reality by always being in self-gratification mode.  It takes away the character building building block of doing what is best and right because it is merely best and right.  It limits free thinking and creativity and drive.  Best is always discovered in hard, not easy.  I watch THE BIGGEST LOSER.  What I find interesting, besides the amount of weight and transformation that occurs in their bodies, is the capacity of the human spirit to go just a little further.  To push beyond what we think we can.  But, the interesting part too is that none of those contestants were able to on their own, until they came to the ranch and learned how to tap into that spirit, able to succeed in weight loss.  Telling isn't it.  I am amazed at how basic human decency has gone out the window.  Yesterday in the grocery store, I turned into the shampoo aisle (the aisles in this store only allow 2 lanes of traffic).  There was only one other person in the aisle, a 60ish woman with a scowl on her face that would have scared the moon from its post in the night sky.  Her cart was in the middle of both lanes.  I could not get around her if I had wanted to.  I stood silently, as I knew she saw me, giving her opportunity to see if she would use basic human decency and slide her cart over.  She did not.  "Excuse me.  I'm sorry, could I get through?  I really appreciate it." I said to her.  She never spoke a word, looked at me with disgust for taking away what she thought was her entitlement to all of that space.  In fact, she muttered a disgusted sound as she slid her cart over.  My heart sank.  Entitlement was everywhere!  Parents and schools perpetuate this reaffirmance of entitlement by praising kids for the most basic of things.  Johnny, you used a yellow crayon to color the sky!  GREAT JOB!  Amber, you studied for the test, GOOD JOB!  Entitlement is NOT like oxygen, a necessity.  

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