10 September 2018

A Sense of Entitlement

Each of us, at some stage, feels as though we are entitled. We might have a sense that we are entitled to feel a particular way. This is often when we feel aggrieved that some wrong has been done to us. We might feel entitled to a pay rise or to some peace and quiet, or to more than we have, or to what others have. A sense of entitlement goes well beyond our basic human rights and into the realms of privilege. The great danger with having a sense of entitlement that endures over a period of time is that we come to see ourselves as more important than anybody else; that we deserve to be treated better than anybody else, or that we deserve more than anybody else. We see this daily, from the corridors of power to the kindergarten sandpit.

This sense of entitlement is something that eats away at a community: believing that others are there to serve us and that we have a right to take what we want creates a deep sense of unfairness, which leads to division and dysfunction.

Being honest and open minded are keys to countering a culture of entitlement. Firstly, we must be willing to accept that perhaps we are not as special as we have come to believe, or as we have been told we are. We have to be open-minded enough to accept that there are other ways of looking at - and seeing - a situation, and even the world. We have to be willing to interrogate our own mindset.

I think that the opposite end of the spectrum to entitlement is compassion, which is really empathy in action. It is an awareness of suffering, wishing that suffering would stop and a willingness and readiness to take action. If you are interested to read more, please click here.

Self-compassion is an important part of compassion, and of resilience, but that is a topic for another time.

Along the pathway to compassion are things such as appreciation and humility. I often think that humility is misunderstood - it is not that we don't matter, or that everyone else is more important than us, but that everyone matters, and the concerns and needs of others are at least as important as our own. Appreciation, humility and compassion should lead us to showing gratitude.

People with a sense of entitlement are not curious about the world around them, except for trying to work out what it can do for - or provide for - them. Those who have compassion are interested in the world around them because they explore it from a mindset which asks, "What can I do to help?" This is something each of us should strive to embody and to embed within our sons and students.

Fortnite

Many of you will be aware that this computer game has become very popular and it may be that your son is playing it. Boys are not entitled to play whatever they want - this is something that they must negotiate with you. At Jordan Foster's cyber-safety presentation to Year 8 parents, she emphasised the importance of controlling access, setting boundaries and openly communicating. She encouraged parents (particularly dads) to supervise and even participate in some gaming, as a way to build trust and understanding. It should be said that Fortnite is simply the latest in a long line of online attractions; I think knowledge is power and enables us to deal with our fears much better. Whilst the game in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing, there are some concerns which have been raised. Family Zone have written a blog on the game which you may choose to read here

Mr James Hindle
Director of Student and Staff Wellbeing