Our Entitled Elders

As people get older, we learn that no one has all the answers. If we are the fortunate ones, we learn that it is ok – and sometimes better – to admit that one does not know everything. This concept also applies to our elders and parents. I would argue the point that most parents are right most of the time, but there is the grim and primitive world mind set that still infects the minds of our older generations. Racism, sexism, nationalism, and theocracy are among the out-dated points we had to wrestle out of the older generations. But there is an additional mindset that continues to surface when the older people in our community begin to lose an argument – “entitled”

Naive older folks love to think millennials are entitled and selfish – and some are. A lot are, actually – but what a useless and pedantic thing to say. It begins to become dangerous as the older citizens use this to begin to hate younger generations. I have been witnessing this phenomenon from afar until recently, a member of my own family shared an illogical and all too perfect example of this generational hatred.

The title of the article is creatively named Your kids should not be the most important in the family by John Rosemond. This decrepit grouch is your typical old man. As if running outside to get the neighborhood children off his lawn, he begins his article with a conversation about a new millennial family. He began by asking them, “who are the most important members of your family?” The young couple responded “our kids!” – the first mistake when speaking to anyone over 65. Rosemond, being a loving man asks, “Why? What is it about your kids that gives them that status?” He then neglects to include their answer – instead claiming that they tried to “fumble with appeals to emotion” before he responded, “There is no reasonable thing that gives your children that status”.

It is almost funny – if it wasn’t so real – that Mr. Rosemond claims that millennials and their children are entitled and selfish, and yet he claims that it is his generation that is the most important. So important that they should be treated as special citizens – ones who should be listened to no matter what just because of their age. In reality, it is Mr. Rosemond is the entitled and selfish generation.

We will never know what that poor couple said. They were probably letting the poor old man rant about the evils of children – but Rosemond shows a hidden and telling characteristic of part of our elder’s generation: kids were not important. Now, if you think the millennial couple he talked to gave bad reasoning, then his is even more nonsensical. For starter, the children would not be alive if it weren’t for the parents. So the fact that children cannot provide for themselves, they are second class citizens. He even refers to children as second-class citizens. Rosemond continues to use the same line of reasoning to prove his point. It is the parents that provide food and clothing  therefor children are not as important. To Rosemond and other like-minded neanderthals, to say, “‘Our child is the most important person in our family’ is the first step toward raising a child who feels entitled. You don’t want that. Unbeknownst to your child, he doesn’t need that. And neither does America”. You can just hear your own outdated grandfather ranting at Thanksgiving about the young people – but it is more than just that – it is about raising free open-minded children.

This utilitarian perspective is long outdated, but it still lives on through the generation that has been subjected to being treated like second class citizens. Children were meant to be seen and not heard. They did not have an equal say. Luckily, we have sense evolved our minds past this truly primitive hierarchy. We know now that children need attention, education, and communication. To Rosemond, children are a leech on the household (I suppose his children were ill-behaved) but we now know that children are the future. To invest in the future, we must invest in our youth. Soon, these old ignorant fools will die off and we will be that much more free from their illogical ranting. But until then, we must remember to focus on our children and not on those like Mr. Rosemond – in 50 years, who do you think will be more influential?

I will leave you with an appropriate quote to live by -rather than treating our children unequally like literal “second-class citizens” we must teach them to think. because if they are raised as thinkers, we will have less brain-rot in our future.

“When you want to teach children to think, you begin by treating them seriously when they are little, giving them responsibilities, talking to them candidly, providing privacy and solitude for them, and making them readers and thinkers of significant thoughts from the beginning. That’s if you want to teach them to think.” -Bertrand Russell



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