Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Avoiding the Quicksand of Entitlement In Your House

Every year the Johnson's go skiing in Aspen during their school system's winter break. Annually the Allen's go to Florida for Christmas. The Ryder family hasn't missed attending the Rose Bowl in decades. When a new phone comes out the Thompson's always upgrade right away.

Deidre has a shopping spree with mom every fall and spring to make sure she has the latest clothes. And the kids at the Franklin's always get to go to the best camps in the city to improve their athletic abilities. And none of them have ever ridden in a car that is more than two or three years old.

Now of course there is nothing wrong with family traditions, enjoying special opportunities, owning nice things or having a luxurious trip now and then. But many families make the mistake of providing each other and their children with what can easily become expected advantages, not privileges. Rather than learning to look forward to something that isn't the norm, the family can begin to feel entitled to those things and become angry if they don't get them.

What are we teaching our kids in the process? We may even be teaching them that they are entitled to be happy, be comfortable, always be first, have the best and not want for much of anything. And yet the Bible is filled with reminders of how important it is to learn to be content no matter what we have or do not have.

Let me suggest a few things that can keep you and your family from the entitlement trap or quicksand?

First, don't necessarily do too many special things EVERY year. Break things up by going and serving somewhere, even at home, instead. Make some of your trips or luxuries something you do every two or three years. Let special opportunities remain special.

Second, give more away as a family. Give your service as I mentioned or money or other resources. Teach your kids to save some money to help somebody else. Perhaps provide a trip or special gift for a single mom and her kids to enjoy. Teach your kids to give back to God through your church which will be used locally and around the world.

Third, talk about and experience the more important idea of enjoying each other in simpler ways. Spend some time playing games, talking, doing some fun things locally and having people over to your home. Don't allow individual activity and gain substitute for relationship with each other. Again, consider using your home and other resources as a way to care for and enjoy each other and the people around you.

Fourth, pray together about other opportunities to give not get. Spend regular time talking about and telling God thank you for the many ways you are blessed apart from all the perks and special things you get to do.

You see, we need to remember that everything we have is from God anyway.  He's just loaned it to us for now. To become entitled simply says to God we think we deserve it. And the problem is that we don't.

Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.


  1. Great advice. I recall the woman who missed her grown kids and said it wasn't the big things she missed, just the ordinary days with them there.

  2. Thanks for the encouragement, Gary!