Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Entitlement Mentality

Dear Mothers,

It is so easy to want a cushy life when it comes to parenting. You want to be served, not the other way around. It is the brackish sin of self-entitlement.

The book, The Age of Opportunity by Paul David Tripp has some wonderful insight to this problem. He says, “I am afraid that many of us live for comfort and bring this entitlement mentality to our parenting. We reason that we have the right to quiet, harmony, peace, and respect, and we respond in anger when we do not get it. Parents who demand comfort, ease, regularity, peace, space, quiet, and harmony will be ill-equipped for this spiritual battle that is raging for our children’s hearts. They will begin to see their child as the enemy, they will begin to fight with him rather than for him, and even worse, they will tend to forget the true nature of the battle and the identity of the real enemy. They will act out of frustrated desire, doing and saying regrettable things, and they will fail to be effective and productive in those strategic moment of ministry in which God has placed them.”

As parents, we are also guilty of having silly expectations when it comes to our children showing us appreciation. We wonder when we are going to get some of the credit for all the sacrificial things that we do for them, such as sitting season after season in snow, rain, wind and heat to watch them play their favorite sport. Will we receive thanks for endless taxiing to this event or that event? Will they come up and give us a joyful hug when we hand them yet another basket of clean laundry? Will they compliment us on cooking thousands of healthy, well-balanced meals throughout their childhood? HELLO! I don’t think so!!!

David Paul Tripp goes on to say, “I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard parts of this list recited to me by parents, always with the same final punch line. ‘Isn’t about time I get some credit?’ It seems logical, so harmless, so right. Children should appreciate their parents. Yet being appreciated cannot be our goal. When it becomes the thing we live for, we will unwittingly look with hyper-vigilant eyes for appreciation in every situation.

Teenagers don’t often burst in the door at the end of the day and say, ‘Do you know what I was thinking about on the bus ride home today, Mom? I was thinking about how much you and Dad have done for me over the years. You have been with me and for me from the very moment of my life until now. On the bus I was flooded with gratitude and just couldn’t wait to get home and say thank you!’ If this happens to you, erect stones as a lasting memorial, or light an eternal flame!

Very few parents have headed to bed only to hear sobbing coming from their teenage daughter’s bedroom and had this conversation. ‘What’s wrong, Dear?’ ‘Oh, I was just thinking about you and Mom and how unthankful I’ve been. I feel so guilty that I haven’t appreciated you more, and I’ve committed myself to demonstrating that I appreciate you ever day!’ On the contrary, the trend for teenagers is to be much more filled with self-orientation and self-interest than to be filled with an awareness and appreciate of others.

If this is the mentality that parents have, then they will struggle a lot with discouragement and anger during the teen years.”

We need to be asking ourselves these questions:

1. Why am I doing what I am doing?

2. Who am I serving?

3. What are the things that I have come to expect and demand?

4. Whose desires rule the moments of opportunity with my child-God’s or mine?

From One Mom to Another,


Ma said...

Good post.

I have one entering the teens, and it's definitely going to be a wild ride.

I still remember how I was at that age and oh boy.

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

I love this. Such good reminders to help us keep perspective as we go through these years.

Camille said...

What an encouraging post (as always) my friend! Don't you just *love* that book?? I'm so glad you are being blessed by it too. God is so Gracious with us, isn't HE? I should pull that book out and put it on my night table...thank you for the reminder to turn to it once again. :)

Much Love,

Mara Wildflower said...

Even though I currently have not been blessed with children, for the simple fact that I am a full-time Homemaker, I sometimes get the entitlement mentality stuck in my head as well. I think all Christian women may feel this way from time to time in their walk with the Lord. We all wish and want to be recognized for what we do, but that should not be the goal. Yet, it's not so easy, isn't it?

Great post! You always read such good books. I am glad that you share them with us. :)

Catherine said...

Whew! Stacie that was powerful! And MY children are grown!!!

Sarah said...

Brilliant post Stacie!

Such a coincidence though...my husband and I just pencilled in to watch a FWBC sermon over the next few days, called...Entitlement Mentality! Crazy huh?!??

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