Give the gift of giving

Feed me, watch me, gimme, entertain me, admire me, attend to me, bow to me ,yield to me or one day I will go to a therapist and tell them what bad parents you were and you will pay the bill!

I remember a time when, children had a voice, were not “seen but not heard”, and yet were still expected to respect adult time, adult conversation and be tuned in to what is appropriate behaviour and rights for children and what was the province of the adult world.

Children today are becoming adult-attention junkies. If they are not central to every conversation or event the get jumpy and go into withdrawal. The symptoms range from nagging, to full blown tantrums. For two year olds or even four year olds such behaviour would be appropriate.  For children as old as ten or eleven it’s a bit much.  It’s what someone called affluenza-children saturated with privilege, believing that the world was created to serve them, entertain them and function as their personal playground.

Parents are the coaches that help children to perfect this attitude and behaviour.  I am not recommending indifference to a child’s well-being. I am lamenting (I admit) the extreme, where children get home from a day at school, and get interrogated about their day at school.

Questions that establish whether the teacher was entertaining, stimulating, covering the syllabus, whether the child in numero uno in their social circle or in another child taking the limelight and outshining this little heir apparent to the kingdom of advanced narcissism. In short question is, “is the world giving you enough”.

If heaven forbid the child is not getting their entitlement, the parent will tear into the school and attack whomever they deem to be responsible for their child not getting her due. It is not unknown for these parents to even attack the children, in the school grounds, who have the nerve to be stealing their child’s thunder.

The irony is at all of this is aimed at giving children self-esteem and making them feel like worthy individuals. Of course it has the opposite effect. If one looks at people who have real self-esteem, as opposed to a veneer of artificially puffed up brittle confidence, is that those people are givers. People who are indulged, are conditioned to be in the world as takers. Givers feel worthwhile and powerful because they see the effects of their giving in the world and realise how much they have to offer. Takers feel powerless and empty, because no matter how much they demand it never feels like enough.

Churchill said, “you make a living by what you get, you make a life by what you give”

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