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Name: Lauren         Location: Middle Tennessee, USA

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Monday, June 11, 2007
Entitlement
(This is a post from my former blog. It doesn't contain links or pics from the original.)

Several weeks ago, I watched a program on CNBC about Warren Buff*ett's children. Warren Buff*ett is the world's second richest man. From all accounts I have ever read or heard, he is a regular guy; from his lifestyle, you wouldn't suspect that he is worth $41 billion dollars. What about his children? Are they spoiled? Do they feel entitled? Do they feel that they are part of a privileged class of people?

Amazingly, Susie, Howard, and Peter Buff*ett say that their childhood was very normal, and they had no idea their father was amassing one of the world's greatest fortunes. Last year, Mr. Buff*ett announced that he plans to give his fortune to Bill G*ates' foundation. While a small percentage of the money will go to his children's charitable foundations, Mr. Buff*ett is leaving no money for their personal use. Most people in the world were shocked by this announcement, but his children say they were not surprised at all. Their father has always expected them to make their own way in life.

I couldn't help but think of Mr. Buff*ett's children this week during all the Paris hoopla. What a contrast! While the children of the second richest man in the world are virtually unknown (I had to look up their names even after watching the program), Paris seems to purposely throw herself into the spotlight. While it is true that I don't know her or the intent behind her choices, her actions tell me that she is focused on pleasure and self-promotion. She seems used to getting her way, and she does not appear to deal well with negative consequences.

As I continued to ponder this situation, I realized that whether you are a billionaire or in debt, it is possible to raise spoiled, dependent children or productive, responsible citizens. More and more in our society, we are allowing our children to grow up thinking their needs are the most important and that mom and dad will always be there to bail them out of trouble. As parents, it is so easy to bend to the temptation of making the road smooth for our children. We do not want them to suffer pain. We want their lives to be easy and happy. It hurts us to see them hurting. Unfortunately, making things as smooth as possible for our children does not lead to their happiness as adults; it leads to adults who cannot cope with the realities of rules and responsibilities and adults who have no compassion for the needs of others.

Mr. Buff*ett could have made the lives of his children very easy, but he allowed them to make their own way. What an example! I pray that I will love my children in such a way that they know I hold them in the center of my heart, but also realize that they are not the center of the universe. I want them to know that while I am here to guide and help them, actions have consequences. I want them to understand that they have the responsibility to care for themselves as well as for the needs of others. What a challenging job!

Of course, our greatest example in this is Christ. If anyone was entitled to a life of ease and privilege, Jesus was! Nevertheless, Jesus left his home in heaven, humbled himself, and became a servant (Phil. 2:5-8). As we strive to follow the example of Christ, we must remember that our primary objective as parents is not to make our children's lives easy, but to teach them to follow Christ's example as well. As parents, we hold the future of our children (and our society) in our hands. I pray that we will make wise decisions as we help to mold our children's hearts!

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