By Carey Nieuwhof
It’s one thing to work on helping your kids fight an attitude of entitlement, but let’s face it, to
some extent, they learn the behavior from us. If that’s true, what can you do to fight entitlement
in your own life? The more you live out the values you want to see in your kids, the better chance
your kids have of living that out, too. It’s so critical we combat entitlement because entitlement kills
our ability to experience two critical things in life: gratitude and joy. None of us would sign up our
kids to live their lives without gratitude or joy, yet it’s surprising how many adults live without either.
Entitlement does that.
First, entitled people are never grateful people. If you believe you have something coming to you,
it’s hard to receive it as a gift, a bonus, an unexpected benefit or even a surprise. Second,
entitled people experience very little joy. Because gratitude is absent, so is delight. It’s so very
hard to find pleasure in what you have because you had it coming to you,
Here are three things that have helped me fight entitlement when I feel it creeping in:
1. Decide that no one owes you anything. No one owes you a job. No one owes you
love or respect. No one owes you kindness. In fact, God doesn’t owe you anything. Instead, start to
see everything that comes to you as a gift. You will cherish and value all of those things and
especially your relationships much more deeply.
2. Be generous. Entitled people don’t share well. In fact, they hoard. Giving money away and
sharing the things you have can help break the back of greed and the idea that you deserve
everything that’s come your way.
3. Hold what you have loosely. I regularly remind myself that all the work I do, the relationships
I have, and my possessions are a privilege and a trust given to me by God and other people
around me. And if they are taken away, that is fine, because I will have what matters most: a
deep relationship with God and the people closest to me. Holding things loosely reminds me that
they are on loan, and not entirely deserved.
These three things help me combat entitlement in my own heart as a parent. I hope that as my kids see me battle entitlement in my life, it helps them battle it in theirs. How about you?
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