Many of you are reacting to the secret tape of Mitt Romney characterizing half of our country as entitled freeloaders, who don't pay taxes. This was said in a private dinner in front of many other one per-centers whom Mr Romney shares more in common with then me and you. Mitt was only saying something that he and the elite feel is true. We are a country of makers and takers and the takers caught in a struggle.
As much as I hate to agree with Mr. Romney there is some validity in what he said. Now the broad characterization was absurdly wrong and offensive and will likely bring further damage to his already free falling campaign. However we do have a nation that has embraced an entitlement destiny and it goes much further then welfare and food stamps.
It starts in the millions of homes and families across our country and the contributing reasons are exposed daily.I've been a youth sports coach for a number of years. I coach basketball, football and baseball. Being a coach I come into contact with many families during each season and I get to see the affect of instilling entitlement into our children every day. Let me share with you an example of this dynamic with a player we will call Johnny.
Johnny comes from a suburban family with two working parents. Johnny is the oldest of three. He goes to a good school and lives in a nice three bedroom home with flat screen televisions, an iPad and his own iPod touch. Johnny's mom post lots of pictures on Face book and his dad brags to his friends at work that he's playing little league.
Johnny shows up to practice with $70 cleats and the best bat, glove and bag on the team. His parents sit near the field for practices and game mainly watching his at bats or when he is on the field. The rest of the time they are on their smart phones or talking amongst themselves. Well Johnny's coach sees that while a good and decent kid. Johnny doesn't like to be told what to do. To run faster, to focus and pay attention, to keep his eye on the ball. Johnny isn't very good and doesnt even try to make himself a better player.
Johnny's coach makes the decision that Steven is better and will start the game and Johnny will be a back up.Johnny goes home and complains to his dad, telling him "coach wont let me play". Johnny's mom writes the coach an email complaining that it's not fair that Johnny doesnt play and he makes just as many mistakes as the next player. She's upset that Johnny wont be the starting third basemen at the next game because his grandparents are coming. His mom also complains to the league manager about this and through this kind of pressure, the coach gives in and Johnny is allowed to start at first base.
This happens daily in youth sports. Parents through the best and most loving intentions, lavish their kids with everything they could want. They fail to teach their children the lesson of working hard to earn things in life. These same parents try to grease the skids of their child's early society so that child never experiences defeat, disappointment or constructive judgement. These parents are only planting the seeds of "Ït's someone else's fault that I'm not achieving."Youth sports is an excellent place to teach children some of the most important lessons in life.
I've been blessed to coach my son for a number of years and I try to show him. There are wins and losses in life. Someone else will have more, you wont always get that promotion, you will be asked to do more without recognition in time. Every kid shouldn't get a ribbon. We need to create more incentives for our children. No I don't feel we should harshly withold from them to teach them a lesson, but sending children out into a world that has increasingly become more tilted to a privileged few without a sense of motivation to work for what they deserve is short-sided and wrong.We live in a society of instant gratification where everything is set up to avoid the word "no".
The best way to tackle entitlement is in our own families, homes and communities. Teach our children hard work, sacrifice and of course great reward. Also as adults we must re-learn that sometimes the workd no can inspire and motivate us to do more then we thought was possible. It doesnt take a political candidate to end entitlement as we know it. It starts with us.