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Published May 01. 2010 09:00AM

There is nothing that angers me more than people who think they are entitled to something. We are entitled to nothing in this world except that which we earn or achieve ourselves. When people expect to be given something just because they live and breathe, they are sadly mistaken.

When certain folks expect that wealth should be re-distributed so that the rich will be less rich and the poor will be less poor, my dander rises. I know, I know - Christianity asks us to be generous to those less fortunate. In my mind, that's different from entitlement. If I choose to donate to a cause, then I am giving freely of my worldly goods. However, if someone demands some of my worldly goods, they can go pound sand.

You can find a good example of entitlement every time you go into a grocery store. Certain people just can't remember that the aisles are made for all of the shoppers - not just them. When folks park their shopping cart smack dab in the middle of the aisle and stand before a shelf for eons, all the rest of us have to either wait, push their cart out of the way, or say "Excuse me" and wait for them to move their cart themselves. I usually gently nudge the offending cart until I can sneak my way past. Sometimes I get a nasty look - and those are usually the people who feel entitled about blocking the aisle.

Another example?? Another grocery store scenario - while you are waiting at the cash register, someone with a loaf of bread and a bottle of milk just worms her way in front of you, saying, "I hope you don't mind, but I only have 2 items." It doesn't matter to her that you might only have 3 items in your cart. She is focused on her own needs. Of course, she doesn't even give you a chance to say "Go ahead of me since you have less than I do."

When I worked as a Children's Librarian, I was happy to get free things for the kids. The local McDonald's gave me gift certificates, a candy store gave me lollypops, our Friends' group donated pencils and bookmarks, and a bookstore donated neat little paperbacks. When I was naïve and new at the job, I would put out all of the donated items at the end of each session. I was appalled to watch certain mothers take extra helpings of everything. They knew that there were enough treats to go around and they automatically assumed that the leftovers were fair game. They felt entitled to take more than their share. So, I began keeping the items in closed bags and handed out single pieces to each child. One mother was even bold enough to say, "What are you going to do with the rest?" I smiled sweetly and said, "We'll save these for another time." What I really wanted to do was tell her that it was none of her business and that her child had received his share.

What causes a feeling of entitlement? In my opinion, it is a lack of humility. When people think that they are more important than anyone else, they show it in their behavior.


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