Values should come out on top [UPDATED]Published 10:07am Monday, October 1, 2012 Updated 12:07pm Monday, October 1, 2012
So there’s this show on now called “Girls” on one of the premium channels, and the premise starts with a 24-year-old woman having dinner with her parents, who tell her that, after two years of supporting her while she does an unpaid internship in New York in her quest to become a writer, they are officially cutting her off.
That, of course, is the beginning of the show.
What’s fascinating about the show “Girls” is that, clearly, that kind of thing happens all the time these days.
I have heard it more often than once. The younger generation seems to feel more entitled to things — a great job that is exactly what they were hoping for since childhood, and that pays an ample wage to afford not just the basics, but a great house, a cool car, fashionable clothing and travel to exotic locations — before they’re even close to earning it.
As a father, it’s certainly something I worry about. This week, we purchased an iPod Touch (essentially an iPhone without the phone part) after our daughter had collected enough money from birthdays and other celebrations and earned it through various chores. At the time, she asked me, what did I try to save money for when I was a kid, and what were the kinds of jobs I did to earn the money?
It brought me back to those days. I recall exactly what I wanted when I was a kid: A Texas Instruments home computer, complete with 32K of memory and a floppy drive. The jobs I did, before I was 16 and able to work an “official” job at McDonald’s, were as follows, as much as I can remember: mowing lawns for at least three neighbors, babysitting, delivering the newspaper, picking rocks from a farm field and baling hay, in addition to the money my parents gave me for household chores. All that, and I still had school and participated in a lot of after-school sports.
Even with all those jobs (some lasting longer than others) I found it difficult to save enough money to afford a $300 computer. I can still remember sitting at the dinner table with my dad, whining about not being able to buy it, and him saying, “What do you want a computer for, anyway?”
The idea of having a computer in my pocket with the ability to play games, “text” friends and look at the Internet seems, well, ridiculous.
So how do we as parents avoid producing entitled children? I’m not sure. You want to give your child everything. But in giving your child everything material, you also run the risk of not giving them personality traits that are far more important: strong work ethic, humility, and an inner drive to help them achieve their goals.
So far, my daughter seems to be doing just fine. But at some point, we’re going to have to make a decision: give her everything she wants, or give her everything she needs.
I sincerely hope we choose the latter.
• • •
When most of us think of hero, thoughts about some quarterback leading his team to a comeback victory in the Super Bowl come to mind, or maybe the firefighters in the 9-11 tragedy.
But the fact is, there are heroes among us every day. They teach our children, care for our grandparents, clean our bathrooms, and help those who are in need of the basic essentials.
We think it’s important to recognize those heroes. As part of our Progress edition in February 2013, we will be writing about local heroes in the communities we serve. However, we need some help finding them. If you know of someone who does heroic work, either as a job or on a volunteer basis, be sure to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include the hero’s name and contact information, as well as your name and contact information.
Let’s celebrate the heroes in our daily lives.
Joel Myhre is The Journal’s Publisher. Email him at email@example.com