Clay Co. KY News

Clay County, Kentucky: Has a "Sense of Entitlement" Overcome Thanksgiving? Op-Ed

Entitled Kid Eating

Op-Ed by Brent Willoughby

Clay County, KY (November 18, 2022) - Today is the Friday before Thanksgiving and I have found myself spending a lot of time thinking about the upcoming holidays.  There is always a "generational divide" concerning certain issues and I often contemplate how things have changed during my lifetime as I'm sure many in each generation do.  The biggest concern I have during the holiday season for people of all generations today, especially our youth, is the idea of entitlement.

Feeling entitled is the polar opposite of being thankful.  This entitled mindset is creeping into society as a whole because many individuals have become more and more focused on self in all the wrong ways.  Sympathy and empathy are often confused, and even worse people have developed the ability to fake both rather convincingly.  Who is genuine and who is fake is a matter of perspective based on learned behaviors and reactions to those behaviors.  Perspective is the key to everything in life.  "One man's trash is another man's treasure," as the old saying goes.

We can either look around and consider ourselves lucky, blessed, and fortunate, or we can be jealous, envious, and covetous.  Which will you choose to do this holiday season?  As I observe people and listen to their words, I become disheartened when I view their actions that don't seem to line up with those words.  We are all capable of hypocrisy and as such we create more and more fuel to be added to the proverbial fires of division.

As citizens of the United States of America we are surrounded by unequaled wealth and opportunity but that seems to get lost on a great number of people.  We try to measure our failures and successes in comparison to the unrealistic world of social media that is constantly reminding us of the failures and successes of others.  What would happen if we turned our unparalleled ability to focus on self and used it in a positive way?  Could we distinguish between confidence and arrogance? Could we learn and practice humility?  If we judged ourselves more harshly than we judge others would that lead to us not being judgmental of each other at all?

"The grass is always greener on the other side," is another saying that speaks volumes of truth about the human psyche.  Why does true happiness seem to elude the vast majority of the masses?  Me, me, me, me, me, me.  That is why!  We must stop comparing our lives to the lives of others.  We must set our own realistic and achievable goals.  Hard work and dedication are the keys to success.  We must see failure as an opportunity to become a learning experience.  Ultimately, we our only responsible for our own actions but we can encourage and/or discourage the actions of others and we need to stop and think before we act.

Hungry Kids

If you find yourself eating a bologna sandwich this Thanksgiving, are you going to consider the family down the street eating Turkey with all of the fix'ens, or are you going to consider the child up the holler that hasn't had a decent meal in three days?  Remember, it's all about perspective and the first lesson is that we are not entitled to anything except the inalienable rights we all share that are endowed upon us by our Creator.  I hope that you will choose to be thankful this Thanksgiving and let go of the feelings of entitlement if you have any.  Turn off the T.V., unplug the wi-fi router, and sit down with family and friends and share a meal, if you are fortunate enough to have one, and a conversation.  Realize just how connected we all are and that we normally have more in common than we have differences.   Thank you all for reading and I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and a wonderful holiday season.

Brent Willoughby 200

About Brent:

  • Proud Kentucky native
  • Husband
  • Father
  • Grandfather
  • Former Sergeant U.S.M.C
  • Member of Mount Carmel Christian Church
  • Lifelong student of history and humanity