My sister called from Germany to tell me this story. She was in the bathroom preparing for bed when her almost 11-year-old daughter yelled for her. She halted lathering her creams and went to her daughter’s room to see what she wanted. My niece was tugged in bed, and told her mother to open the window next to her bed. My sister became mad and asked why couldn’t she open it herself? ‘I am already comfortable in bed and don’t want to get up’ was her reply. My sister refused the request.
Last night after finishing their dinner at my parents-in-law’s house, my brother-in-law’s wife and son left the table to go into the room. His fourteen-year-old daughter sat on the couch to watch TV while her father cleared the table in front of her, leaving two plates behind as his hands were full. I chided her for not helping and she reluctantly cleared the rest of the plates, sighing loudly as she walked past me.
My youngest brother-in-law came, bringing with him ten stools which he had just purchased for my parents-in-law as all the old stools were not stable. Mike’s father both his brothers started tearing the plastic covers off the stool legs, a difficult feat as the plastic films were inserted into the rubber leg caps. I chided Ivan, who was reading near us for not helping his grandpa and uncles. He protested that he was reading.
These are young people with no maids at home and yet do not make any effort to help when they see the elders are busy. Worse, they expect to be served. Can you imagine families with maids at home, they are not even expected to lift any fingers?
This sense of entitlement parents cultivate in their children at home would eventually lead them to being adults who expect the Government to serve their every whims, solve their every problems and cater to their wants. After all, they are brought up to expect all the benefits life brings, whether it is being served at meal times, clearing dishes, having children, help in buying properties or cars. And when these expectations are not met, we hear complaints and gripes.
I just came home to see the dining table in a mess and scolded Aaron for not cleaning the table for his Chinese tuition in a few minutes. ‘I wasn’t the one who had messed it,’ came his indignant protest. That’s my point, can’t you help even if you didn’t mess it up? After all, you are the one using it after. The culprit who had messed it, Ivan, also got scolded for expecting to be cleaned up after him.
I have started insisting my sons help around the house and they are told this is to make them into useful men, a better husband and father in future. They are told, if they want to consume, then they better contribute. The situation now is push and shove on my part. I await the day when they volunteer their help without my asking. The question is, when will the day arrive?