King James and the Entitlement Generatioin

LeBron JamesImage by yourFAVORITEmartian via Flickr
Before I officially call the 2010-2011 NBA season history, I would like to write a post from something taken from still another character in the finals drama.

Tim Keown from wrote this commentary  yesterday about Lebron James of the Miami Heat.  Although there is a great multitude of people who dislike and even hate Lebron I don't know whether everything Keown said about him is a reflection of reality or if they're just 100% his opinion and personal psycho-analysis.  However, Keown wrote something that caught my attention since I have been observing and have been thinking about it the past few months.

Here's what he wrote near the end of the commentary with some phrases I emphasized:

"James is the perfect case study of the I'm-Somebody-And-You're-Not phenomenon. He came of age in what might become known as The Entitlement Generation. I have a friend who owns a company that hires many recent college graduates, and he says the self-esteem of the 22- to 28-year-old set is both astounding and misguided. They've been raised to believe they should be overflowing with personal pride -- not a horrible concept in moderation -- and they've passed the elementary-school classes to prove it .They've grown up in a world of parents who worship them rather than discipline them, and they've rarely been given honest, frank assessments of their talents. Everybody is good at everything, nobody loses, nobody fails, nobody should be called to account for their inadequacies."

Young people, even in our Evangelical churches -- especially in the Metropolis, seem to have this entitlement mentality.  It's sad because as a person who has worked with young people the past few years, I could see some of them, even in our churches, seemingly growing with this entitlement mentality.  They are passing through their teen and pre-teen years knowing all the music and language of popular Christianity but live their daily lives thinking that life revolves around them so much so that the slightest problems become their life-breaking issues.  While countless other youths (churched or un-churched) struggle over issues of poverty, broken homes and the like, some youth are so vocal and can flood the internet with their complaints after they survive their biggest problem to date -- no internet connection.  While thousands of Filipino youth can't go to school for lack of money and while in some schools up to 120 pupils share a cramped classroom and yet in some provinces students are just happy to study in far-flung community colleges, the entitled youth could not care less, having been convinced that everything and everyone were created exclusively to serve them.

I hope our youth, especially from our churches would really understand the Jesus in the songs they sing -- that this Jesus shed His blood and suffered indescribable anguish to save us from our sins and from our self-destructive ways.

I like contemporary Christian music but when our young people keep singing songs like "Jesus You are My Best Friend" with their limited current experiences with their real life "best friends" then they develop a shallow theology and end up growing into active church youth with entitlement mentalities.  Remember that a lot of times best friends only get to keep the title when they make sure they don't cross us and when they make sure they only treat us according to how we want them to.

I hope Keown is not correct about Lebron (though I'm not one of the loyal subjects of King James) and I also hope this entitlement mentality doesn't permanently grip our young people.  Otherwise, they will reach their 20s and 30s with people jeering at their failures rather than cheering them to success.  Eventually they populate our churches and hand over the entitlement to their next generation.

May our young people learn to look at themselves exactly according to what they really are -- not below nor higher than they ought to (Romans 12:3-- and that they learn that God loves those who have broken and contrite hearts (Psalm 51:17).  May parents train their children according to the instructions of the Lord -- not going to extremes of overly pampering them nor taking them for granted (Ephesians 6:4).

All these are my opinions and personal observations.  I know a formal survey or study should be done to validate or invalidate my hypothesis, but in its absence, I lay my thoughts above as I officially leave NBA 2010-2011.  See you all again next season.
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