Who Entitled You?! (Originally Posted May 10, 2012)

The other day I heard a story that left me utterly disturbed.  A family member shared a recent experience while dining at a busy, casual restaurant with her husband and 7 month old.  Apparantly there were two large parties of 10 people near their table, along with toddler age children that weren’t under the strictest supervision.  It was noisy and crowded in the entire place, and at the moment her young son was over-stimulated and began to cry.  Though it was obvious that several people contributed to the raucous, a woman near her table turned and asked them to leave because “your baby’s crying is annoying me”.  She was on a date and apparently she thought she had the right to make this request. I froze in shock and disbelief as the details of the event unfolded. Did this person actually say that?  Out loud?!! It’s not like this baby was kicking this woman’s chair, throwing food or physically disrupting her meal while her parents sat idly by.  They were doing their best to soothe their child, but in her world it wasn’t enough.  Before they left the restaurant I know my family member’s husband gave this person a piece (or two or three…) of his mind, but the bitter taste of having to deal with this lady’s thoughtless reaction still lingered.

As I visualized the scene I pictured this vocal woman as a young twenty-something who was, like, totally trying to enjoy her meal with her boyfriend, and this annoying baby, was like ruining the mood.  Babies…gross.  But you know what?  I’ve been there.  Prior to my friends starting their families and my own little angel being born I’ve been that person to think “Will that baby pleeease shut-up!  Helloooo parents, do something!”  Or even worse I’ve given that obvious cringe when in a small confined space, ie. airplane and uh-oh, there’s a baby sighting.  Help!  Yet even in my naivete I would never consider making them feel worse than they already do as they try to cope with a frustrating situation. When I hear stories like this (and I know there are several), I wonder what triggers that part in a person’s mind that makes them believe these kind of comments are ok.  To be so bold as to think you have the right to put another adult, a stranger, in their place because you feel inconvenienced, is a nasty case of entitlement.

This doesn’t just happen towards parents of young children.  What about that co-worker that doesn’t work half as hard as you but whines and complains when they don’t receive the same benefits you’ve been awarded?  Then there’s that impatient person that cuts you in line or cuts you off on the road because clearly their time is more precious than yours?  The list goes on and on, but what factors into the mentality that the world (outside of the walls of your home) truly does revolve around you?  Does this nerve come from an incredibly spoiled, and maybe even sheltered upbringing?  Is it a serious case of ignorance?  Or maybe it’s pure selfishness coupled with an attitude of “I don’t care”.  I don’t know, but either way it’s a sad, sad thing when you’re unable to consider the feelings of others, because the only item on your agenda is 1. Getting My Way Today.  Let me just say, I hope it’s worth it…

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