We tend to associate the entitlement mentality that is so pervasive in America with people on the lower-end of the socio-economic ladder; people who depend on the federal government for their sustenance.  While there are certainly plenty of poor people who have developed a bad case of entitlement, this socialistic attitude is not limited to people living below the poverty line.  Unfortunately, the children of middle-class, upper middle-class, and wealthy parents are also developing an entitlement mentality, and the fault rests squarely on the shoulders of their parents.  Too many parents in America are raising their children—knowingly or unknowingly—to feel as if they are entitled to anything they want without expending any effort.
I recently saw an example of how parents who are well-off financially are raising their children in a way that is going to backfire on them and our country—not to mention the children themselves—in the future.  I was taking an early morning run around the sports park in my neighborhood.  This was a Monday morning.  We have an excellent baseball/softball complex and it had been filled to capacity with little leagues games all weekend.  As I ran around the four ball fields that make up the complex, I couldn’t help noticing that trash was scattered everywhere.  There were empty water and sports drink bottles, candy wrappers, and popcorn boxes littering virtually every square foot of the area around the bleachers, but what really caught my attention was the trash littering the insides of the dugouts.
I suppose I should not be surprised that the spectators—most of whom were the mothers and fathers of the children playing little league—would trash the bleachers and surrounding area.  I don’t like it, but there is—unfortunately—nothing new about that phenomenon.  Americans have simply become too lazy and too disrespectful of others to get up out of their seats and walk a few feet to the nearest trash can.  Easier to just throw one’s trash on the ground and let someone else worry about it.  But for the dugouts to be filled with empty plastic bottles and candy wrappers meant that the coaches did not even require their young charges to clean up after themselves.
As I ran around one of the fields, I noticed a city maintenance worker picking up trash.  It was just 6:30am and he had already filled several large plastic bags with trash of every description. I stopped and asked him if the city did not require the coaches to make their teams clean up after themselves, at least in their own dugouts.  He laughed and said: “You must be kidding.”  I wasn’t.  When I played little league back in the dark ages we had to leave our dugout and surrounding area spic and span clean or our team would be banned from playing on the city’s ball fields. In those apparently less enlightened times the city did not use taxpayer dollars to hire people to clean up after children who should be learning how to clean up after themselves.
The maintenance worker explained that the city had tried to implement a mandatory clean-up policy only to be deluged by angry parents who thought their little darlings were too good to clean up after themselves. The gist of their arguments to city officials went like this: “What do we pay city taxes for if you expect our kids to clean up after themselves.”  Unfortunately, no member of the city council had the insight or perhaps the nerve to explain that if their little darlings learned to clean up their own messes the parents would not have to pay as much in city taxes.  What is even worse, no member of the city council had the gumption to explain to these parents that they were teaching their children a very bad lesson.
Children who are raised to think it is their right to trash the world around them and expect someone else to pick up after them will become adults who think they have the same right.  Instead of teaching their children to respect the property of others and to discipline themselves to be good citizens, parents are teaching their children to be self-serving, disrespectful, entitled brats who will grow up thinking the world owes them and every mess they create is someone else’s problem.  God help us.