My Grandad is cracking on a bit; in his nineties, he fought in the navy during WWII, worked his whole life as a tailor, managed to buy a house for the grand sum of £2,000 after the war, and has never really complained about much, well, apart from Reading FC’s dire performances. He is now bed/chair-ridden, is struggling to look after himself, and depends more and more on my Dad. It has genuinely never really occurred to him to ask for help, not that he wants it anyway, thank you very much.
He is stoic, and stubborn and too proud. Probably an epitome of his generation.
It is such a contrast to what I seem to hear from so many other people.
There’s public sector workers complaining of insufficient pay-rises and inadequate pensions proposals. Try working in the private sector my lovelies, it’s even tougher there (and then, when you complain, they’ll tell you to be grateful you have a job. Nice).
Then there’s those who have been born into a benefit culture, and perpetuate it, whilst complaining they don’t have enough money to eat, after they’ve bought 60 cigarettes, 20 cans and buy their kids’ lunch everyday on the way to school. Hmm. [Disclaimer here, I know this is not true for many, many, people, this is just a personal experience I have had].
A previous manager of mine used to complain about being unable buy a house, and wondered how I managed to do it (obviously a conundrum, as I earned a lot less). Well, I’m sure there’s many reasons, but if you’ll only live in a specific post code and won’t compromise your lifestyle, then you have to live with the ramifications. In this case, no home of your own.
People who complain they get no help with childcare (yep, guilty on this one), well, we decided to have children, (and it IS a choice), we knew they weren’t going to magically look after themselves when we wanted them too, what did we expect? Why should anyone else do it, or fund it?
There’s multiple examples. But where has this sense of entitlement come from? Is it our parents fault for always trying to do their best for us? Is it because we are so exposed to what everyone else has now, that we think we deserve it too? I honestly have no idea, and when I think of it, it simultaneously makes my blood boil and my brain tangle.
Is this not just setting everyone up for disappointment, and feeling inferior to those that have managed to acquire what you haven’t? When we focus too much on what we haven’t got, we tend to ignore what we DO have (which is probably coveted by others), and before long, maybe that which we have, will be lost as the price to pay in the quest for what we want.
Entitlement is felt by everyone, it seems, regardless of status or upbringing, in one way or another. I do it, and I’m complaining about it.
My Grandad is happy as long as he has a working TV and a fish supper every week; whether that’s because he’s old enough to have seen it all before, or because of his upbringing, I don’t know. I wish we were all a little bit more like that, but maybe it’s too late? This way of thinking can’t be doing anyone any favours, and it makes me more than a little anxious about the world for my boys, and our future.