Entitlement -- it's pretty much a parenting curse word, a bullet to dodge, a badge of shame to bear.
Not for me.
Entitlement is a parenting goal of mine; it is something to aim at and tirelessly work towards.
I want my daughter to feel entitled to love and be loved.
I want my daughter to feel entitled to respect.
I want my daughter to feel entitled to dream.
When I state these wants of mine, I feel utterly confused that anybody would frown upon this concept of entitlement for our children. Our children, who we created and birthed... why wouldn't we want the best for them?
Most of the whisperings out there, which condemn this idea of entitlement, do so under the guise of 'selfishness.' These whispers warn us of a generation of children growing up feeling as if they are above common standards, a generation ultimately refusing to jump through society's hoops.
Here's the thing: I know too many hoop-jumpers (hell, I used to be one myself!) to know that for most, hoop-jumping does not leave a person feeling fulfilled. The cup of a hoop-jumper is almost never full. And what's the 101 of airplane safety? ut on your own mask first.
Because when our cups our empty, we've not got anything left to give.
So let's turn this around. What if our children felt entitled to happiness, choice and hope? What if our children's cups were filling up, or in some cases even overflowing? Wouldn't these well-rounded and fulfilled human beings have more capacity to lend a hand to another... to help out a neighbor with her mask, so to speak?
Because if we are hurting, we are more likely to lash out in our pain. Whereas if we are content, empowered and feel entitled to life, we are more likely to give, to offer, to make a difference.
So many moms reminisce about the first time that they cradled their baby in their arms. So many moms wish for entitlement for their child in those first moments and it is my personal belief that the vast majority of moms never, ever, lose sight of that dream. The issue is, there comes a point in our mommy-ing where what other people are saying starts to ring a little louder in our ears. Perhaps sleep deprivation has caught up with us, or perhaps we are making a huge transition such as returning to work, but these whisperings often seem to get louder when we are at our most vulnerable.
If we are told often enough that having an entitled child is a bad thing, there is every chance that we will start believing it.
So, let me say this, and perhaps my voice is quiet and isolated, but at least it's out there: I hope for a generation of entitled children.
I hope that our children feel entitled to fair treatment, with logical and real reasons supporting everyday rules and limits.
I hope that our children feel entitled to body autonomy, empowered to make safe and healthy choices for their own bodies that they are unafraid to voice.
I hope that our children feel entitled to happiness, to accept it without guilt when it arrives.
I hope that our children feel entitled to sadness, to accept it without shame when it floats by.
I hope that our children feel entitled to play often and freely -- unapologetically and without structural targets and moderated scales of assessment.
Most of all, I hope that our children feel entitled to life; precious, fleeting and powerful.
This post originally appeared on Mama Bean Parenting.