Not too long ago, a generation considered “handout”s a scarlet letter. A friend recently told me that during the Great Depression, her grandfather who had lost everything, would rather starve than accept a hand out. Accepting help from the government was considered shameful, a sign that one couldn’t handle their own business so someone must step in.

Today’s culture considers handouts a right.

Appalled by the Occupy demonstrations in Oakland a couple weeks ago (the ones where they not only closed down the wharf but decided to throw Molotov cocktails into warehouse buildings – lighting them on fire and destroying local small businesses), I couldn’t help but google the group. I’m sure they have a point in their picketing efforts and I’m thankful to live in a country that tolerates (often helps organize) protesters. But I’m having a hard time getting past the entitled parts. The 99% sure feel comfortable being “owed”.

Here are a couple quotes:

From the Dallas group that is planning to strike Nov 30th:

“Whereas by consensus we view that for the first time in American history, current generations will not be as prosperous as preceding generations. This denial of the American Dream is at the heart of Occupy Movement.”

According to Occupy NYC, they are looking to area folks for some help:

“We’ve made a lot of headway on getting winter gear here in the last 48 hrs but definitely need more. Please help by purchasing or donating supplies directly. Winter gear and other necessities can be dropped off in person, delivered, or shipped. (I added the cheapest prices I could find… all while stifling laughter at the delivery options. Heaven forbid a recipient play any role in obtaining these necessities.)

  • insulated glove $6, wool hats $15, scarves $10
  • long underwear / smart wool thermal socks $60
  • 300 hand warmers, 300 foot warmers – $1200
  • waterproof boots in all sizes (rain boots $25, winter $50 +)
  • disposable shoe covers (negligible)
  • winter coats (at least $50 +)
  • hot beverages (negligible)
  • thermal heaters $100 +
  • all weather sub-thermal sleeping bags $40
  • tarps $5
  • all-weather tents $50
  • foam padding / insulation for inside of tents  $5
  • wooden pallets to get tents off the ground (used $5)
  • cots to get people off the ground (don’t currently have any – could really use these) $50”

Total for one person: over $450 at bargain pricing (which takes time and effort to find) throw in convenience shopping and you can add a few hundred dollars.

I’m so sorry. That just isn’t the American Dream.

It’s the greedy, serve-me dream.

My friend visiting us from Austin just told me that in two weeks Occupy Austin has cost $110,000 for police overtime alone. (click here for article) Hmmm… how nice of Austin residents to be funding the tantrum. I’m sure paltry sum compared to the bill being funded by New York City tax payers.

I’m doing my best to hold my tongue and I have little interest in debating the group’s purpose. But can we for a moment recognize the vast contrast between the 1900s and 2000s. We’ve come a long way from shame.

So … I must stop myself from pointing a finger. If I’m honest I’ll admit that this type of thinking can and does hit close to home. I watch my kids thinking that the State owes them. Of course in their world, I’m the State. I often catch myself providing. Sometimes because it’s easier than listening to the wants. Sometimes because I don’t even realize I’m doing it.

I not only need to be careful about steering the kids away from this societal driven and innate desire to be served (without going to extremes because I’m still their mother) but I also need to be proactive in teaching my kids to do rather than wait to be serve… then to do for others. Because they were created for the latter. In fact, when serving others they just might find lasting satisfaction. Hmmm… I wonder what percentage of people do that. I think it’s the .005 percenters.

At the end of the day, I hope they can learn from the Occupy demonstrations and the freedom America gives its citizens to be heard, but I also hope they will steer clear of the message that seems to be permeating the movement … a destructive message that hints at the right of being owed.

To be continued…

Thanks for walking the road with me. I’d love to hear what you think.


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