I am going to make a lot people angry here. I am having more and more issues with entitlement among young people as each day goes by. I know this is something that most people will say is a normal generational occurrence within the gap, but these are new times, with new technologies, and new beliefs that are completely unique to society and we are seeing a large course change in culutre. It is time to make a course correction. So I am going to give you the new course heading, grab the wheel, check your compass, and pay attention.
This is a way to make children understand their place in the pecking order. You see what so many people are dealing with, especially teachers, is a sense of entitlement amongst our youth. For some reason young people have no fear or care for their place in society and for their education. They assume they are owed possessions and an education. There is no thought that they need to earn possessions, that they need to earn their knowledge. Possessions are not given to them and we don’t have to just give them answers, they must earn the answers. In a time when every student is given a crutch at a young age of why they can’t succeed as well as their friends we need to kick that crutch out from under them, let them skin their knees, and stand on shaky legs so they are strong enough to carry the weight of the world. Because as we know, when you are adult, it rests all on your shoulders and you must carry the weight.
Give them a crutch, let their legs atrophy and they will be crushed by the world when they are adults, rendered adrift in a sea of complaints and excuses.
So how do we take away their sense of entitlement? How do we kick the crutches out from under them? Well for starters, stop blowing up their egos.
“But John! You are a teacher, you should be lifting their spirits!” I know, but there is a good way to do this…
When a child does well at a task don’t tell them they are intelligent, say to them “Good job! You worked hard and succeeded”.
This tells them that hard work is why they succeeded, not because they have an innate intelligence or ability, because soon they will believe they don’t have to work, that they are smarter than most of their peers and they can sit back and do nothing and still succeed…….and it will backfire on them. This is fact, I witness some average intellects who tell me they are borderline geniuses because their whole life they were told they are “So smart!” but complain at 16 years of age that using the sentence “Does a cell expend energy during passive transport?” isn’t fair because I never taught them what expends meant. When I explain it was in the textbook and if they didn’t know what it meant they should have looked it up in a dictionary they explain it is still not fair because I didn’t tell them that word was important. Then they go on to complain about what a terrible teacher you are because you didn’t tell them the answers.
Then we get into the territory of “it’s not fair”, the battle cry of the grade grubbing student….how their grade isn’t fair, because their whole life they were told things should be fair. Again, an early and consistent background in evolution will teach students that the world is not fair, and unfortunately, not everyone is created equally. Some people will have it easier than others and that is just a fact of life. Sometimes even when they do everything right, success will not come, and again, that is just a fact of luck. Because as any good scientist knows, sometimes success and failure comes down to dumb luck.
Yes this is what I am dealing with, a bunch of baby birds looking to have the answers regurgitated into their mouths. I call it “Momma birding” and I tell students I will not do this. Answers need to be earned, not given. The journey to the answer is the real education, not the actual answer. So the entitled student wants the answers given to them because they feel they deserve the answer, not that they should earn it.
Students who constantly talk to teachers like we are their employees and they, our bosses. Lines like “You have to tell me the answer because its your job”. I often reply with “No, my job is to educate you and I am teaching you how to learn.” To a reply of sucking teeth, eye rolls, and the statement “You aren’t a good teacher”. Which the student truly believes, luckily I am secure enough to know I am a good teacher and I continue on with my plan of making independent learners.
So that brings me to the second point of getting rid of entitlement amongst children…..and this one comes straight out of millions of years of evolution. Ready, because this one is a sure fire doozy of a trick that will guarantee results. Are you ready for this? This is time tested, guaranteed solution….
Eat before them.
At the dinner table, serve the adult first, eat a little bit before you dole out food to children. In schools, let the teachers eat before the students, let the students see the teachers get their food and sit down first. You see in nature the most dominant animal in the pack eats first and it goes down the line. Any dog or cat owner can see this. Animals don’t eat when you eat because they love you, they eat when you eat because they see you as the pack leader and instinct tells them not to eat food until the alpha animal eats.
Now this seems to be counterintuitive to what people have learned these days, but millions of years of evolution are not wrong, in fact they are damn near perfect. Sure people will call me an asshole for saying this, but look at our youth and the problems we are encountering due to entitlement. If you don’t teach or don’t have children you may not notice it, but look around you at the lack of respect more and more young people are showing for the world and people around them, more and more complaints about how life isn’t fair, no understanding that they, and even we, are owed nothing in this world.
Again a simple rule of nature that if everyone followed as evolution intended us to can change the world.
Who knew we could change the course of culture and society simply by changing the order in which we eat?