x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Too big to fail? Only the 'really entitled' think like that

Entitlement is the enemy of achievement

Entitlement is defined as "the right to a particular privilege or benefit". You may have noticed that some parts of the community in this country show a growing sense of entitlement.

There is a difference between expecting world-class health and education services, which should be available to all, and the belief that you should be automatically given benefits because of your name, nationality, position, wealth or that of some members of your family.

You know that entitlement is affecting your behaviour when you accidentally drop a coin on the street and you do not stoop to pick it up.

You know too that entitlement may have overwhelmed your online persona when you only follow or retweet prominent people on social media.

We need to recognise that such traits are neither acceptable nor are they a sign of wealth or class.

We need to acknowledge and address such issues because, if left unchecked, they will have serious consequences.

Sadly, many people are instilling these same, damaging instincts in their children.

A friend's son recently failed the entrance exam to an academically driven primary school in Abu Dhabi.

Her reaction was disturbing. She did not blame her son for performing badly in the exam or accept that he was not, perhaps, good enough for such a challenging school. She did not even feel responsible for not spending enough time with the child, preparing him.

Instead, she went straight to her husband to demand that he "use his influence" to secure a place at the school.

Entitlement may give you inflated feelings of self-importance, but it also erodes your ability to work hard and provides a multitude of excuses for failure.

For instance, how many young people start bachelor's degrees at universities abroad and return three months later? Others spend four years enjoying their time and doing the minimum requirements to gain their degrees.

When it comes to decisions regarding choice of husband or wife, many would prefer to stay single than marry someone who does not measure up to the qualities that the partner thinks he or she deserves.

The problem is that once the couple gets married these feelings of superiority and claims will continue and may even persist all the way to a quick and guilt-free divorce.

Decisions have consequences and it is irresponsible to let people believe that they can keep making bad decisions and not have to pay the price later on.

Similarly, it is wonderful to enjoy help around the house from maids and drivers; it is something else when you have never changed a light bulb.

In the same way, it is helpful to have someone carry your shopping bags but it is sad when having to carry your own bags is a big aggravation. Yes, you can have someone register your car, or pack your suitcase, but there is a sense of pride that comes from doing things for yourself.

Just because you can get someone to do things for you does not mean that you should.

Is there such a thing as too much of a good thing? Absolutely. As Abraham Lincoln said: "You cannot help people permanently by doing for them what they could, and should do for themselves." If we continue to raise generations with a false sense of entitlement how much morality and dignity will remain?


Reema Marzouq Falah Al Ahbabi is an Emirati homemaker and MBA graduate

On Twitter: @rm_ahbabi