Monday, January 17, 2011

Is it entitlement or what?

Is it entitlement or what?

What is it with people lately? I am a volunteer instructor teaching classes that have a variety of students – different ages, from 9-10 year olds to adults of almost any age, male and female, and even physically challenged. My latest class has a couple of students that apparently have nut allergies. A applaud their mother who approached me prior to the start of class, except she took it too far. She proceeded to tell me that it was required of me to tell the rest of the class that nobody could eat any snacks in the classroom and would need to exit to the sales floor of the business which has been gracious enough to let me user their facility. I reminded her that this was a business and that I was not going to have the students take their breaks on a sales floor while they were trying to conduct business. She proceeded to tell me that it was required because of the severity of the allergy for her two children. I tried to mollify her by telling her that I would explain the situation to the class. I was in no way accepting the responsibility of her own children eating something they are allergic to.

I finally got the class underway and in the midst of the opening I observed this mother standing in the doorway and slowly sliding into the class. After she had sufficiently interrupted the class, I asked her if she had something to say and she stated “Well, I wasn’t going to interrupt, but since you offered…” and proceeded to instruct the class on how there were two “special” students with allergies severe enough that they had epi-pens with them at all times and that it was the “responsibility” of the rest of the students to protect her children.


I mean this lady was telling the class what the ingredients were in the snack machine and telling them what they could and could not eat. She was telling 34 other people to babysit her two children.

Personally, I would have thought her time would have been put to better use by teaching her two kids how to avoid the fending nuts in the first place and to behave under their own control rather than rely on strangers to mete out a little self control.

BTW, throughout the class people were eating peanut butter sandwiches, chips and cookies and neither child had an event. Neither did they attempt to eat someone else’s food.

I understand the concern. I can sympathize with the fear of the possible reaction. I don’t understand trying to put the onus of responsibility on complete strangers.
Additionally, why is it that friends and family decide that the only times they need to contact you are only if they need something or feel obligated to?

I had a pretty close friend several years ago. Close enough that most people knew that if they couldn’t find one of us, if they called the other we were probably together. We spent enough time together that we would practically finish each other’s sentences. We camped, hunted and fished together. We taught together and we were involved in Scouting together. We had fun.

A few years ago he stopped calling. Or rather, he stopped calling unless he needed something. He also stopped returning calls. I still hear from him or get text messages from him if he needs some information I can provide or if I can do something for him, but that’s about it.


It seems as though I’ve fallen into the same situation there. Lately, unless they feel obligated or need something, they all act the same way. And heaven forbid we should say no to something or not be able to just jump to perform. Plan a dinner and invite family and friends and the night before be told that everybody’s plans have changed. “No, we didn’t know how to tell you.”

And heaven forbid you should live farther away than other family. I mean, it might take five more minutes to drive to your house and that just isn’t convenient. Not even once a month, like we asked.

And somehow, I feel responsible for the whole thing. I’m not exactly sure what I have done to offend people en masse, but apparently I am damn good at it. If I post on a Twitter or Facebook thread, they die. Friends stop calling and family treat me like a pariah.

I guess this is where I am supposed to apologize, so here you go: I apologize. Whatever I did, I am sorry. I’m sorry you don’t like my convictions or where I stand on things or that I moved too far for your convenience.
Or that your kid has allergies.

That being said, Thanks for treating me like shit.

For those few who still aren't offended, thanks for being there when I needed it.