flightless hag

A chronicle of the adventures of birdwoman: a lonely, talentless freak who wanders the internet in search of entertainment.

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I'm a 40-something married white female, survivor of weight watchers, avid reader of pulp. Dogs (not cats), extreme right (handed, not politics), ENTJ, alto, wanna-be knitter.

March 16, 2010

Is it the age, or is it the time?

I recently assigned my third project to my kids. They had to keep a science journal for the marking period. Each week, they were to cut out or print out an article from a newspaper. They had to write three paragraphs: summarize the article, link it to science (and explain the science), and give an opinion about the article or the science.

Of course, it was "too much, miss!" If I had a dollar for every time... anyway.

One of my better students handed hers in. It was hand written, which makes the fact that it was grammatically correct and almost completely spelled correctly much more awesome. She had articles on a new FBI database (science: technology), unsolved shootings in the city (ballistics and forensics), the new soda and sweets tax (health), and many others. The thing that struck me was, every opinion of hers came down to this: there aren't enough laws or enough law enforcement. Every problem - including obesity - can and should be litigated.

I remembered back to an essay contest I was required to enter my sophomore year of high school. We had to write a letter to a world leader, letting them know how we could make the world more peaceful. I was angry - I hated writing essays. So I wrote my letter to "Joe", the average man in the streets. I asked him how he could expect his leader to make a difference when Joe did all sorts of mean things. Blah blah blah. Filled it with sentimental sap. My teacher was peeved, but whatever. He couldn't prove I had done it tongue in cheek.

I won second place. He laughed his butt off with me.

The first place essay, I think, was to Ronald Reagan - telling him to cool his jets. But it stuck to me, even then, that we all expected someone else to solve our problems for us.

So, my question: is it the age (teenager) who thinks that government can actually do something worthwhile, or is it the time (now, 21st century) where we put more faith in law than in humanity?


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Blogger cube said...

Philosophically, I think we, as individuals, have lost a goodly part of the sense of responsibility for our actions that people in previous generations took for granted as part of life. I have seen the sense of entitlement grow in my lifetime alone, much less what I read about in historical references.

I would like to blame the liberal educational establishment, but I know that conservatives have been sitting on their hands letting it happen and are, thus, partially to blame.

March 18, 2010 12:49 PM  
Blogger birdwoman said...

I don't know - I remember as a kid, watching my aunt and uncle line up to collect their "benefits", even though they had no need for them. They were the WWII generation, and they collected a heck of a lot more than they ever put in to the system. And they saw it as their right.

I wonder if the sense of entitlement doesn't come from having entitlements to begin with.


March 18, 2010 2:21 PM  
Blogger cube said...

I don't remember my family members receiving benefits, but when we were impoverished college students, my best friend took advantage of food stamps and was always after me to do the same. I just couldn't bring myself to do it, not with my upbringing. She always thought I should've taken advantage of the system.

March 22, 2010 4:33 PM  
Blogger birdwoman said...

Same here - I remember my students ragging on me because I lived on my 7K a year stipend. It was tough, but I was able to do it.

At the same time, when my dad died, my mom took the social security. Of course, sibs and I have more than paid back anything my mom took, and we know that we're not getting anything out of that system, ourselves...


March 22, 2010 4:44 PM  

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