All this declaration of our rights is making us weak. Follow the progression…
I deserve X.
When I don’t get X, I get to cry foul.
Why? I deserve X because somebody else has X and they’re no better than me.
Therefore, if I don’t get X, I’m going to complain until I get X.
My neighborhood has a Facebook page. It’s a place people can post things like “My dog got out, can you let me know if you see it” and “We’re having a yard sale” and “Hey, there’s a shady guy in a hoodie. Lock your doors” and stuff like that. But there are frequent rants too. One recent post was someone complaining about how the local elementary school had a fire drill and their kid was made to go outside without a coat. This particular wall post had lots and lots comments, many commiserating with the troubled parent.
Boo. Hoo. Hoo. Your kid went outside without a coat. Let’s lynch the teacher, principal, and administration for the uncaring, unthoughtful, and reckless monsters they are. My kid was a tad uncomfortable for 10 minutes. Boo. Hoo. Hoo.
Now, the irony that I seem to be complaining about people complaining is not lost on me. I know you could point the finger at me and say my complaining is no better or more justified than anybody else’s. I get that.
But I want to point out the fact that it seems that by and large, we’re becoming a spoiled people. And an entitled people. And a complaining people. And therefore a weaker people.
I’ll put myself in the shoes of that parent who had their kid outside for 10 minutes without a coat (my kid goes to the same school). My child comes home and I say, “How was your day?” They say, “Good, except we had a fire drill and I had to go outside without a coat. I got cold out there.” I say, “Oh really? That’s a bummer. Well, glad you’re okay and it was just a drill.”
Was I uncaring? Was I calloused to the fact that they were cold for 10 minutes? You make the call.
What I’m trying to do is to teach my kids that the inconveniences of our lives are usually where the lessons live. That with discomfort comes strength. That when we see something that seems unfair, we should remember that we’re not always the best at defining fairness. And that yep–life is sometimes if not often quite unfair indeed. But that unfairness is by no means a license for whining.
Are there things worth fighting for? Sure there are. Are there injustices that ought to be righted? Of course. But from what I can tell we’re becoming a people who are bent on trying to make EVERYTHING okay for EVERYONE. It can’t be, it won’t be, and it shouldn’t be.
And on a grander scale, us trying to complain ourselves into a better future is simply as nonsensical as it sounds.
“Complaining is the language of cowards.” -Dan Webster