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Published August 27. 2011 09:01AM

I spent some time recently at the Stanford, FL airport - waiting to pick up my sister who was flying in from PA. While I waited, I couldn't help overhearing a phone conversation.

Sitting next to me was a twenty-something young woman on a cell phone. She was well dressed and was apparently waiting for someone, too. She spent her waiting time talking on the phone. I was trying to read, but couldn't concentrate because she spoke loudly.

The gist of her conversation was this - she was speaking to her mother and was telling her Mom about the job interview she had just had. Here's a little snippet of her conversation - not word for word, but summarized as I recall it.

"The interview went fine. I wore the new dress you bought me. They were nice to me. Offered me coffee or water. I took water. They asked me a lot of questions about my resume' and I answered them all. I had to ask 'Is the interview almost over?' because I had to come to the airport. I also told them about my scheduled ski vacation in December - around Christmas. They didn't seem happy about that. One of them said 'People who work here don't usually get a vacation until they've worked for a year.' I told them that was unacceptable, since I had already made plans with friends for the December vacation. I felt entitled to that vacation."

At that point, the girl grew quiet and seemed to be listening. I hoped that her mother was telling her that she should not worry about December vacations or getting to the airport. She should be worried about getting a job. Her attitude of entitlement may have caused the interviewers to toss her application in the wastebasket.

I didn't get to hear more of the girl's talk because my sister arrived and we left the airport. However, that incident has stuck in my brain and demands me to write about it.

Have you noticed that the younger generation has an air of entitlement? They automatically assume that they are the center of the universe. They think their parents and relatives should be at their beck and call for whatever they require. Need a new dress for an interview? Mom and Dad should buy it.

Kids today (and by kids I mean most people under 35) are so self-absorbed that they can't imagine how anyone or anything could stand in the way of their happiness.

Another example of this is the "I need it NOW" syndrome. Newly married young'uns don't need the best of everything. They can live a few years with second-hand furniture and used cars. They can wait to buy a house until they have a formidable nest egg.

Young adults today seem to think that their parents owe them something. How wrong they are! The only thing your parents owed you was a home and support until you grew up. Then, you owe them something. To paraphrase President John F. Kennedy - "Ask not what your parents can do for you. Ask what you can do for your parents."

On another note, I am also disturbed by people who think they deserve things. Children expect to be rewarded for doing well in school. When we were young, our reward for a good report card was a kind word from our parents and the knowledge that we had done our best. There were no gifts or monetary rewards for getting good grades. We were expected to do that. That was our job.

Also, parents who bribe their children with gifts or money are setting the wrong tone for them. A little boy who misbehaves in the grocery store shouldn't hear the words, "If you stop running and yelling and sit nicely in the cart, I'll buy you a lollypop when we check out." My mother would have said, "If you don't behave, you'll get a spanking and go to your room when we get home." She knew we weren't entitled to anything if we didn't behave.

Parenting is hard work. One aspect of it is critical. Be sure to raise your children so that they become adults who don't feel entitled.


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