By GAIL MAHOLICK

gmaholick@tnonline.com

Entitlement is a word that has been on my mind a lot these past few weeks.

What bothers me the most some people's sense of entitlement.

I've seen some crazy things lately and people who wrong others often act as if they did nothing wrong. They feel entitled to things they cannot pay for.

These people are so sadly lacking. It amazes me as to what is going through the minds of people and how entitlement seems to pop up in the most unsuspecting places.

Some people believe it affects only the wealthy, but I learned long ago that entitlement isn't just white versus black or rich versus poor or young versus old - it seems to be everywhere.

I grew up learning that if I worked hard for something, I earned it and deserved it. But some people have this mentality that they are better than others. There will always be the haves and the have nots or the entitled and the not so entitled.

We, meaning some of us parents, might be partially responsible. We were taught by the child care professionals while we were raising our children that we should be praising and rewarding our children for tasks they should have been doing as a matter of course.

While there's nothing wrong with rewarding achievement and excellence, it causes problems when you reward mediocre efforts.

If the next statements sound familiar, it might be because you have teenagers in your life. If you've heard them demanding to receive a cell phone, saying that all their friends have their own phones and that they deserve to have one too or they want a car, even if they have no obvious means of paying any of the costs to own and drive a car, you're not alone.

You may have caught yourself using this exact same internal dialogue. "I deserve to own my own home. It's not fair that I'm still renting when I should be a homeowner."

The problem is that many of us suffer from a sense of entitlement."

Face it: life isn't fair. Never has been. Never will be.

We all have certain expectations in life. We all may want to go to college, but the entitled believe they do not have to work and pay their own way. So why can't they go to college on someone else's money?

The truth is that we aren't entitled to very much at all. We take many of the great things in our lives for granted, so we fully expect to get even more.

With the current recession, many people are losing their jobs and and and they all think they deserve better. People with jobs feel that they deserve to have a better position with a better salary, but whining and complaining will get people nowhere.

You don't deserve a job; you earn it. Having hopes and dreams is good, but fulfilling your dreams requires hard work and dedication.

In approaching any ambitious endeavor, it is hardest to work toward your goal.

We all know that life is hard but when you expect others to pay your way for your schooling, for your car or use someone's else's identity to get a credit card to buy things you think you need, its wrong.

When you use other people's money just so you can have what you want right now, it is just wrong entitlement. Its time to start working for what you want so you can stop expecting handouts. Earning success is so much more rewarding.