I thought about Rwanda, Sudan, Uganda, North Korea, Afghanistan, Somalia, Eritrea, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Haiti, Ghana, Bolivia... and I wondered. Where do we get the idea that American children are entitled to a pain-free life?
Do I want kids to suffer?
But do I think that this is an American right?
No. I really don't.
Am I grateful that we live in a country where health care is available, where the standard of living is above the norm? Where success is an every-day story?
But what I'm saying is that I think our affluence, our collective wealth and sophistication, has caused us to embrace a lie without realizing it.
I hear people complain about how parts of our society are hung up on their entitlements.
What I'm saying, as nicely as I can, is that I think we all (myself included) have a subtle entitlement mentality in this country.
When we get burned by hot coffee, we sue McDonald's and now we've fixed the problem by labeling every commercial styrofoam cup with words to the effect that hot coffee can burn you. That's America: you see a problem, you fix it! This is the land where no one should ever get burned by hot coffee! Where no child should ever suffer! Where no hard-working responsible person should ever experience failure!
Where no one should ever really have to feel their need of God.
This is America, Heaven on earth, where bad things should never happen and when they do, someone should have to pay for it if at all possible!
Some of the wisest, gentlest, most loving young people I've ever met are from Rwanda.
They almost all have horror stories, not generic horror stories but personal ones.
But they don't seem to feel entitled. They just seem to feel grateful.