August 8, 2007

Entitlement

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:59 am by whatithinkiknow

Dear Bee and Birdie,

You are 2 1/2 and 7 months, respectively.  My little bee, you are a bundle of energy, running around, climbing all over!  Your favorite food right now is a popsicle, and your long-term memory grows stronger every day, so I can’t hide things from you anymore and have you believe they are gone.  Birdie–you can sit up by yourself now, you smile all the time, and you are the sweetest baby.  You think you can crawl, but you can’t yet–soon!  I love you both so much. 

 I belong to a listserv of wonderful ladies who do machine embroidery.  The list “mom” is a lady who owns an embroidery business, and she also runs this list that has grown to 10,000 plus members-strong.  The thing that is so amazing is that she is constantly giving us free embroidery designs.  Digitizing a design is hard work–it takes specialized knowledge and skill, it takes money and time and it takes talent.  Yet, she gives a free design away to this group at least once a week. 

For the most part, the members of this group are very grateful and humbled by her kindness.  Every day, there are 10 or so messages from group members thanking the list mom for her generosity.   Yet, every so often, a member comes out and says something like, “where is our free design?” or “do we get a design this week?”  It makes me absolutely cringe when this happens.  These people don’t really get the work it takes to put these designs out, with little return.  They don’t really understand that the list mom not only runs the list, but also a business, and she has a family and a personal life.  Worst of all, they don’t understand that they are not entitled to free designs.  Those designs are given freely, and we are lucky to be the beneficiaries.

Recently, a member wrote in to say that she felt it had been a long wait for her to get the designs, and that she really couldn’t do anything with the designs she had until the new ones would come out.  She was wondering just when she would get the week’s free design.  Not only did she totally miss out on any kind of decorum, politeness, or gratitude, she really didn’t get the idea that part of the fun of being in this group is the anticipation of what design will come next– or whether it will come at all. 

I used to work in financial aid for a major university, and I had a student on hold while I was waiting for an answer to a question.  I had the phone muted, so I could hear the student, but he couldn’t hear me.  He was telling his friends in the background that he was waiting to “get my money.”   The money he was referring to was student loan money–a loan from the government to use for his education.  Money that was supposed to be paid back someday, and money that allowed him to achieve a major life goal.  His casual attitude and the way he was talking about the money as though it belonged to him made me angry. 

You girls will be given many things throughout your lives because the people around you who love you and want you to succeed in life will give you  many things.   I know you will be grateful, but I also know you will want for many things that you either can’t have or believe should be yours simply because you want them.  We all work through these issues in our lives. 

What I hope, however, is that you will never, ever believe, through arrogance or naiivte, that you are entitled to any gift or benefit.  If you complain that you haven’t received a gift or benefit in life, or if you lay claim to something that you didn’t have to work for, you need to re-evaluate what you think is your responsibility in life.  The fact is, there are far too few givers in this life, and those that exist we need to bow down to and be grateful for, not stand before them with our hands extended.  The more we feel we are entitled to others’ gifts, the less there will be in this world, as givers pull back in disgust at our greed.

You girls will feel greed many times throughout your lives, but you will learn to manage it.  You will sometimes be given things that you don’t feel you deserve.  There will be times when you’ll find a $10 bill, or a diamond earring, and you’ll feel like the luckiest girl in the world.  But, for the most part, those gifts that are most valuable, you will have to work hard for–and what you give to life will come back to you. 

While there may be some “free” things that come your way with no strings attached, for the most part, good things come to us from the work we do and the karma we put out into the world.  The minute you succomb to the idea that you can get something for nothing–you’ll find that there is always, always a price to pay in some way. 

I hope you will be gracious and humbled when accepting gifts, and I will teach you to think critically about opportunities to have things that you don’t have to work for. 

I love you both dearly,

Mom.   

August 29, 2006

Welcome to: What I Think I Know

Posted in Thoughts for My Daughters at 6:27 pm by whatithinkiknow

Anyone who knows me knows that I love to write.  When my first daughter was born, I had an urgent need to put pen to paper to write about some of the thousands of topics I want her to know about.  Now, with my second daughter on the way, I am realizing that I have a great deal to say–thoughts I would like to put out into the world so my girls will come to know me, and so I can have some small influence on their development as human beings.  Doing this in such a public way also allows me to put my karma out into the world–to find ways to influence a much larger community than just those who may directly touch my daughter’s lives in the years to come.  I have something to say, and this is my proverbial shout from the rooftop.