I don’t know about you, but my parents never wasted anything. We consumed very little. I wore my sister’s hand me down dresses, shoes, jackets, etc. We cooked a chicken, ate part of it, then used the rest to make chicken and noodles. The dog ate the bones. You get the picture. We were taught the old adage, “waste not, want not.” It was a different time. We had to share.
We grew up learning the value of blessing someone else. If we couldn’t buy it, we made it. If we couldn’t make it, we did without. We gave of ourselves, helping our neighbors, finding ways to touch lives that did not require what we didn’t have. We learned that people were more important than things. Things were a bonus, not a requirement for happiness. You didn’t have to buy toys, they were everywhere. We didn’t need a jungle gym, we climbed trees. My brother and I made roads in the dirt with the few toy cars we found. Cardboard boxes were and still are a great playground. We played school, church, ride the train, and clean the house for the pretend television crew that were coming to broadcast it to the world. As children, we took our place doing what we were capable of. We gathered eggs, weeded the garden, washed dishes, sorted laundry, and swept floors. We didn’t learn responsibility, we lived it. Consequently, we became productive members of society, not just consumers.
But our world has changed. We have become affluent. There is nothing wrong with being affluent, but it cannot be our ultimate goal. Acquiring more requires more. We have to have a place to store it, sometimes working long hours to acquire it and then ultimately becoming a slave to it. We have given our time and energy to acquire what we don’t require and have taught a generation to do the same. Consumers, we are. We no longer save for a rainy day, we borrow to get it now. The immediate gratification message is spewed from our televisions, along with messages about how we deserve to possess what they are selling.
Easy access to most nonessentials make them appear essential. If our neighbor has it, we feel we should have it too. It’s not just keep up with the Joneses, it’s keep up with the largest gadgetry, the latest in electronics, and the latest styles. We are hooked into a cultural phenomenon that has evolved into a prevailing attitude of entitlement. Many no longer contribute to society, we demand from it.
Even though we owe billions in credit card debt, many still feel that society owes them. With millions dependent on government assistance, we are heading toward dependency on what was meant to assist us. Our heart at Feeding Incorporated is to address this problem alleviating dependency through educational programs, family goal setting, training in life skills, along with temporary assistance. The problem of entitlement exists. Come be a part of the answer.
Article written by Regina Shank, published in the Carthage Press