Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Entitlement vs. Rights

(**This being said, I am not trying to pick a fight with anyone about their feelings - this is simply my thoughts so please don't leave mean comments.)

Cory and I have been in some pretty heated discussions lately about the RIGHTS we have as Americans and as human beings. It's not heated because we disagree, but heated because we agree and feel passionate about certain things, and know that not everyone shares our points of views or opinions. There are some things that are just hard for us to fully wrap our brains around and understand, because they aren't views we share with others....

Anyway, last night I said, "I just wish there was some kind of formula, or some kind of way to explain to people that it is so important to WORK for things. I know that as American's we have freedoms and should have certain rights...but I wish there was just an answer somewhere, an answer for us to all live by and encourage people to work towards things and not just feel like they deserve things."

Then it hit me - our founding fathers had it right when they stated in the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

THAT is the answer - the PURSUIT of happiness! I went to the dictionary and found the definition of the word pursuit. This is what Meriam Websters gives as the definition:

1 : the act of pursuing
2 : an activity that one engages in as a vocation, profession, or avocation : occupation

synonyms see work
So while I am grateful for the "rights" I share with my fellow American's, I don't think I feel entitled to anything (or at least I try not to feel like people owe me anhything). I don't feel like I deserve certain things in life just because I am alive. Wait - I take that back - I think I do deserve 2 things - #1 respect from others. #2 the right to work towards the things I want, or towards happiness. The right to the "Pursuit of Happiness".
So without getting into heated discussions, declaring political parties or agendas I do want to say that I hope that Americans can learn to work, learn to try their very best, try their hardest and WORK hard towards the things that will make them happy.
getting off of my soapbox now....
Edited to add: I am really not even pointing fingers at any ONE political issue. I think that some of our basic problems in life and relationships come from feeling entitled to things. Whether it be in a marriage between spouses, a family relationship, a relationship with friends and neighbors or even a relationship with people at church. When we start feeling entitled to things we begin to loose the spirit of graitutude that reminds us of how little we really are. I think that if we are to fill our hearts with gratitude and thankfulness for everything we are given we will feel less like we deserve things handed to us. I hope that will communicate my feelings a little better.....We need to return to gratitude in all things.


april said...

while I agree with you completely, I'm afraid that there are for more in the "entitled" camp than there are in the "right" camp. I saw more than my fair share of the "entitled" attitude last week and admit I came home feeling a little beaten down.

Alicia and Justin Clark said...

We talk about this a lot too, and share a lot of the same feelings! The culture of entitlement is bringing our country, and communitied, into a really unfortunate place

Anonymous said...

I believe the operative word in quoted passage from the Declaration of Independence is "equal". We are ALL created EQUAL.

But all Americans are not treated equally.

When we ourselves are not subjected to this inequality, it's easy to forget that it's sometimes impossible to PURSUE dreams, goals, and happiness when the odds are stacked against you.

Just another point of view.

Ellis Family said...

I guess I don't really believe that anything is impossible...HARD - yes, but impossible....not really. Yes, we might have to try harder at some things than others get without seeming to try very hard, but I think if we really want something that it is possible to attain. We just have to want it ENOUGH and try hard ENOUGH and realize that it doesn't happen immediately. Hardly anything good ever comes instantaneous.

We also have to be willing to compromise. Sometimes we need to realize that there are things out there that might not be what we thought was our "ideal" - but will be "good enough"....

Anyway - just a few more thoughts. I am grateful to believe that we have the world at our finger-tips and that we really can make the best of our lives if we try hard enough.