I have heard Psychologists call this the Age of Entitlement. The implication is that due to the “everyone is special” teaching practices of the last 20 or so years, we have an entire generation of people who have grown up believing that they are more important than others or entitled to special treatment. This mentality is common enough that I recognize it, even if I don’t apply it to an entire generation. I encounter people who honestly feel it is all about them. These are people who max out their credit cards to buy expensive clothes rather than buy something from Walmart simply because they could never been seen in Walmart clothes. These are people who scoff at economical cars. These are people who look at the unemployed and say “Well I have a job, obviously you are just lazy or aren’t trying hard enough.”
Most of the time, when I encounter these people, I think to myself, I hope karma shows them otherwise, then shrug and walk away. But these “entitled” have begun to worm their way into my holiday and my patience is growing thin. They have the belief that they are more important than others and as such have lost basic Good Manners. They get angry when you wish them a Merry Christmas because offense of offenses they don’t believe in God or Jesus and instead they celebrate a Holiday.
Well wonderful for them. Now they can shut up and go away. As a kid I was often threatened with a spanking if I was rude or mean to someone older than I was. Even now I find myself saying Sir or Ma’am to someone who might remotely be 5 minutes older than me. My mother always told me to be polite, and so I try. Some movie, I can’t remember which, had a character who said “Good Manners is simply a way of telling someone you respect them and you want them to be comfortable.” My, what a revelation! Showing respect for someone you don’t know and trying to make them comfortable?!? How un-entitled of you.
I celebrate Christmas, with a bit of religion thrown in. But if someone wished me a Happy Hanukkah I would smile and say “Thank you! Happy Hanukkah to you as well!” I don’t celebrate Hanukkah, but good manners says I should respect others and their holidays. This means not assuming that they know my beliefs or customs and not being offended when they are wishing me good things in their own way.
We need a little less entitlement and quite a bit more good manners, and some understanding that everyone is someone worth respecting, holidays and all.