About Me

Education, the knowledge society, the global market all connected through technology and cross-cultural communication skills are I am all about. I hope through this blog to both guide others and travel myself across disciplines, borders, theories, languages, and cultures in order to create connections to knowledge around the world. I teach at the University level in the areas of Business, Language, Communication, and Technology.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sense of Entitlement

I have discovered that blogging is probably one of the best sleeping aids anyone can have. For the last couple of weeks I haven't really been able to blog because I was on vacation and then I was preparing for the start of the semester. As a result, I found myself waking up in the middle of the night with thoughts racing through my head (which is why I am now typing this at 5:30 in the morning).

The main thought came out of my son's soccer tryouts this week (football for those of you reading outside of the US). There are some parents that feel that their children should not have to follow the same rules or their children are entitled to different treatment than the rest of us. I found it very unfair that when a parent made a big stink to the coach, their sons got special treatment. Since entering high school (secondary school), I have respected my son's request to stay out his interaction with coaches unless it directly effects me (i.e. verifying procedures for picking up my son, getting details on equipment I need to buy for him). I believed I was making him into a better person who is able to stand up for himself and that those whose parents were running the show for their kids were doing their kids a disservice.

I have had to reconsider this over the year, however, as my son was humiliated by basketball coaches who made the second string bench warmers run errands for those who got to play (go fetch water, get the towel to wipe off their face, etc...) and be yelled at in front of the spectators whenever a play went wrong whether it was their fault or not (after all, it couldn't be the starter's fault for not running the play as it was laid out in practice because then why would they be starting and the others have to sit on the bench). When parents went to the principal of the school, their sons began to play, but those of us who felt our sons should work it out suffered. This was then repeated in lacrosse when my son was bumped down to a lower level when one of the "richer" and more influential parents spoke to the coach. The coach used to leave the playing field with his head down, as if he were running the gauntlet, trying to avoid parents that would ask for special privileges for their sons.

So this week, when this scene was repeated in soccer, I began to question if I am doing my son a disservice. I always assumed that by letting my son handle these problems on his own would make him a stronger person. However, I find that he has begun to lose his confidence, get angry at an unfair system in which people with influence or money, and developed a desire to quit a sport he has always enjoyed playing (although he has to work hard at it as he is not a natural at it).

I thought back to Karyn Romeis's posting a while back on entitlement that those from richer backgrounds felt. So here is what I am thinking: if the workplace has become the same way in which promotions, hiring, etc... are based on the "politics" of the workplace, shouldn't we be teaching those from underprivileged backgrounds how to use the system as those from privileged backgrounds do? Should we be focusing on teaching parents how to "hoover" in order to get what their children need? How can we teach our young people to just go ahead and take what they feel they are entitled to without getting arrested? Should we be teaching them how to create influential networks before they begin to "take" from others? At the same time, shouldn't we be exposing and speaking out against the entitlements that those with power and wealth feel are theirs for the taking? Shouldn't we teach our students how to use the internet to get around the current power structures to create a more just society?

I still wrestle with balancing the unjust system we currently have with morality of excepting that system and teaching those without access to it to manipulate the system to his or her own advantage. It is hard to go through it myself, but seeing my children suffer because of my morals is even harder.

1 comment:

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia ora Virginia!

It is amazing what blogging can do for one - you said it. It's like writing entries in a diary - same difference.

In an earlier post I wrote about putting thoughts to rest and how this can actually help one to sleep on it.

The mind is indeed a curious piece of equipment. Knowing how it behaves can help us organise our thoughts.

Ka kite