The opposite of gratitude is entitlement

BeggingMy Mom is living off the proceeds from selling her house, my Dad’s small pension, and her equally small social security checks.  She is not flush with cash but, thanks to having owned a house in San Francisco, even with today’s minimal interest rates, she still has enough to last her for a few years.  In addition, Mom’s first cousin, who is very wealthy, generously sends my mom a nice check every Christmas.  This last one is, of course, purely a gift.  The fact that it is a gift, however, did not stop Mom from calling me today (the checks are sent to my address) to ask, “Did she send a big check?  You know, she owes me a lot of money?”

That reminded me, of course, of the Jewish joke about the beggar who sits outside an office building.  Every Monday, a businessman working in the building makes it a point to give the beggar $10.  This goes on for quite some time but, one Monday, things change.  Instead of handing the beggar a $10 bill, the businessman hands the beggar a $5 bill.

“What’s this?” asks the surprised beggar.  “You always give me $10.”

“I’m sorry,” the man replies, “but business has been very bad lately.”

To which the beggar responds, “Just because your business is bad, I should suffer?”

Too many people, my mother included, lack a sense of gratitude and operate purely from a sense of entitlement.  This is something worth thinking about when it comes to America’s welfare policies.

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  1. sabawa says

    Thanks for the reminder, David.  I used to get those Repub letters, too.  
    My parents died about 8 yrs ago and left their four children an equal amt of inheritance. Taking care of it has made it grow nicely, in my case.  My brothers, on the other hand, blew through theirs in less than two yrs.  Now they are coming to me for $$.  I guess b/c they didn’t earn a penny of it, the money disappeared as quickly as crap through a goose, as Patton would say.  Often, when you get it for free it doesn’t mean much.  

    • says

      A lot of people have no idea how to manage and grow wealth. That’s why the rich families put their babies on trust funds. They don’t get access to their money, ever. They only get access to the INTEREST.

  2. Danny Lemieux says

    Why is it so hard for so many people to be able to say, “Thank you!”? 
    It really is a simple 2-word thing to say and it has a way of completely changing peoples’ outlooks on their lives and the world.
    So, if we can ask, Book…what was your reply to your mother?

    • says

      Well, she’s 90, Danny, so I certainly wasn’t going to make a big deal of it.  I simply asked incredulously “She owes you?”  Mom instantly backed off, saying that her cousin “promises” her money.  And this is true, that the cousin has said that she’ll never let my Mom go without — but she never specifies an amount.  I suspect that my Mom has also bamboozled the cousin about the actual extent of her financial resources.

    • says

      Danny, first you must deconstruct their cultural contamination and make them think in a language not native to their birth. Once they can think in Japanese or Spanish, and say thank you in that language, it removes the cognitive locks they learned from their kiddie days.
      Well, at least it is a nice experiment to think on.

  3. says

    I just sent my letter from John Boehner back today — with a large message written in felt pen:
    “Talk about the Dems the way you talk about the Tea Party — THEN ask me for money!”
    Otherwise, not one thin dime for those turkeys…..
    @sabawa:  How hard must THAT be!!  I can’t believe that those siblings take good care of the money they earn either, though.  If they did, they wouldn’t have blown their inheritance, nor would they need to come to you after it’s gone. Sad.

  4. Matt_SE says

    People (all creatures, really) get used to their environment and accept it as the baseline. That tends to distort a sense of gratitude which is predicated on the humility that you’re only one circumstance away from the gutter, or a remembrance of the past.

  5. jj says

    There are those with whom you can do nothing.  If you care about them you don’t drown them, you just accept that this is the way it is, and hope for a better crop next time.  I have one I maintain, with no hint of – or expectation of, either – gratitude, and there it is.  Part of the deal.  Like, I assume, your mother’s cousin, I walked in with my eyes open.

  6. sabawa says

    Earl……you are so right.  Somehow, before the inheritance, they lived within their means. Inheritance in…..all sensibility out.  It makes me sad for my dad who worked into his 70s and poof…’s mostly gone.

  7. says

    Your mother is pretty fortunate to have a supporting family/children.
    I know an elderly couple that the man is physically impaired and cannot walk normally, and the woman just had breast surgery for cancer. Their daughter won’t pay for the buffet, wants the art collection sold to fund her failing art business (and probably marijuana habit). She sent some freezer and microwave food over, but the daughter doesn’t visit on holidays or make sure her parents are taken care of. She has the mental maturity of a 13-15 year old. It’s all that stress back in the past. High achiever. Started doing marijuana cause of (culture), and was emotionally stuck. She’s 35 something now, the daughter of this elderly couple.
    So Book, see how lucky your parent is? She has assisted employees helping her live, family that actually comes to visit. There are many others who cannot say the same. I visit that elderly couple more than their daughter does. And I’m not related to them. Doesn’t that sound weird? And people wonder why I don’t do drugs… well, I suppose they don’t really wonder about that when they meet me. They can feel the vibes, you know. I don’t know why they can detect stuff like that, people just do.
    Government and the Left thinks they can change people. If you ask me, people don’t deserve to change when they can’t even change themselves. Don’t even try. It’s not worth the waste of time and energy. Gaia needs more energy.

  8. says

    On the topic of entitlement, Bioware, a PC game publishing company, used the pc game journalists and their own sources to call dissatisfied fans as being “entitled”, amongst other terms.

    So basically centralized control systems like Bioware, who grew up from a small outfit, and centralized authoritarian regimes like Obama’s, really think the people who pay them the money they need to exist, are whining about their entitlements.
    When in fact, the opposite case is more easily made, that large hierarchies could not exist without the people at the bottom.
    Whenever an entity refuses to recognize your free will and the benefit of you exercising that free will in a mutual alliance, then you slide on down into the path of slavery, the pits of hell, and the livestock coral. Alliances are to be made between equals or at least those with equal human status. The moment they, a corporation or a government, decides to treat you as an animal to be taxed on the farm until their Death Panels get rid of you… you are no longer in a mutually beneficial relationship.
    If the central authorities decide that they are entitled to your money, your work, or your ideas, they’ll just use force to take it. They’ll make it so you have no choice about it. You have to pay them or you suffer. Even if you pay them, you still suffer.

  9. bap says

       This reminded me of an excellent interview with Peter Greer, CEO of Hope International, in Forbes, Your Help is Hurting: How Church Foreign Aid Programs Make Things Worse.  Especially this bit: 
       “There’s an author Bob Lupton, who really nails it when he says that when he gave something the first time, there was gratitude; and when he gave something a second time to that same community, there was anticipation; the third time, there was expectation; the fourth time, there was entitlement; and the fifth time, there was dependency.”

  10. says

    Bap, you can see the same thing with US aid to Egypt and Israel. The PM of Israel was everything but groveling on his knees in front of the White House steps, to get US support that they think is “critical” to the survival of the Jews.
    There’s a big difference between getting charity and funding that is valuable, and becoming addicted/reliant on it.

  11. bap says

       Matt_SE nailed, really: “People (all creatures, really) get used to their environment and accept it as the baseline.”  How and at whose expense our environments are created affect the truth of that statement not a whit.
       There’s a very good reason that most religions emphasize counting one’s blessings–it checks this tendency (somewhat). 

  12. says

    The Left has caused a lot of the world to hate the US. They partially use the motivation of the locals to be independent and prideful. But the Leftist alliance, not us, are the ones most interested in creating puppet governments and slave cabals in foreign nations.
    Just look at how Hussein operates in Iraq. The second Hussein.
    So if foreign nations could take care of themselves and stop attacking us, we should leave them alone to manage their own affairs. But the Left convinces the world that we are greedy, corporate sharks and corrupt evil. The world is convinced by this because of Diem. Remember Diem? Bay of Pigs? All the stuff the Left did in our name, the world remembers and curses us for. And it is used by the Left as a wedge, a lever, to destroy American foreign policy.

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