High: 84°F ~ Low: 67°F
Thursday, June 20, 2013
Forgotten VirtuePosted Wednesday, December 7, 2011, at 8:46 AM
We often hear "patience is a virtue."
I do not need to convince you of how impatient we have become as a society living in an age of technology. For example, microwave pancakes just take too long.
I would like to remind us, patience is not the only forgotten virtue. Those born somewhere between 1978 and 2003 have become known as "Gen Y."
One word often used to describe this generation is "entitlement."
This generation is often chastised by previous generations for this characteristic and the forgotten virtue of gratitude. I would like to take a moment and explain from where the sense of entitlement has come and why the virtue of gratitude has been forgotten.
Gen Y'ers were taught to be the way they are by their parents and grandparents.
The average parent of Gen Y'ers worked way too much. They loved their kids so they tired to make up for their lack of time by never saying no to material gifts.
These gifts made the parents feel better about themselves and their time at work. The gifts became justification for long hours and lack of time spent with their children.
In some situations, Gen Y'ers were raised in single parent households and their parents worked not to provide the extra things of life, but the necessities.
Children raised with the bare necessities developed a sense the world owed them for what they did without when they were younger.
When I was a kid, only those who won received recognition. I appreciate the spirit of sportsmanship over gamesmanship and recognizing everyone for their efforts. The approach of making everyone feeling a little special has led to no one feeling extra special and a sense of entitlement to what anyone else receives despite ability and effort.
I am glad scores are not kept for 4-year-old soccer teams. I am glad they all get the same award, though it is my opinion this mindset contributes to a sense of entitlement later in life.
Forgotten gratitude and the sense of entitlement is nothing new. When Jesus told the parable usually known as The Prodigal Son, found in Luke 15:11-32. He revealed two examples of an ungrateful mindset.
The younger son approached his father one day and requested his share of his father's inheritance. I have seen this very act in the lives of many people from Gen Y.
They have a mindset of "I want it now."
Again, this mindset is nothing new; it seems to have been around for about 2,000 years. Ask a grandparent and you might hear an outlandish story of their childhood of having to "wait" for the things they wanted. Some may be going to get their dictionaries.
The older son in the parable of Jesus characterizes an increasing trend in attitude and thinking. After the younger son returns home and the father celebrates the return, the older son will not attend.
His complaint was concerning the things his father had not given him. The big brother has a pity party and reminds the father of his loyalty and his lack of entitled reward. The loving father responds with the promise, everything I have is yours.
How do we cultivate gratitude in our lives? Every blessing our Father pours out on us, may we turn it back in to praise.
If not, we turn it into pride, foolishly believing we are entitled and deserving of His grace.
As a student of Scripture, I never read Jesus spending time making lists of thanksgiving. When God blessed Him, He immediately went to His Father in prayer and said, "Thank you."
He didn't wait until no one was looking.
May we not forget the virtue of gratitude this Christmas season.