I shuddered and I could feel the hair rise on my neck and arms. Oh, how I hated those particular words strung together: “I got what I wanted.”
This one statement summarizes the growing decline of personal and social responsibility in a nation whose values continue to be stripped by unadulterated self-interest.
What spurred on this indignation? Recently, the words spewed like vomit from the mouth of a teenage girl dressed inappropriately at a public event who was rounding up toy prizes meant for young children. She then proceeded to stuff them in her purse to hide the fact and continue on to the next booths to prey on the kindness of those who were in charge of the games. Earlier, a woman twenty years my senior made the same statement about another woman that she had coerced into performing a specific task for her. She was equally proud of her ‘accomplishment’ and did not even blush when making her announcement. Young or old, there is nothing beautiful about the indelible image that they created by their actions.
But, these are only examples of the many times where the person seemingly gets what they wanted at any cost (as long as it did not appear to cost them anything). Get a clue--it costs us all more than we know each time someone says it and each time someone has to hear it.
We have all known sly and manipulating people. I cannot say that I have not stooped to this on some level, particularly early in my pre-adulthood. In my defense, sweetly asking my mother for money to go to the movies is quite different from a teenager being ‘nice’ to men twice their age so that they can get expensive purses and other gifts. Further, it is quite another level of divisive behavior to stand up proudly after being sly and manipulative and expect a pat on the back for behaving in a completely inappropriate manner by announcing that your deviant behavior, “…got what you wanted”. Does this make anyone else sick to their stomachs? It does mine.
Has it really come to this? You can say or do anything to hurt, rob, violate or manipulate and therefore impact the life of another person just as long as in the end you get what you wanted. Have people forgotten that ungodly gain does not go unnoticed by God even if it may go unnoticed by everyone else? Have they never been taught this lesson? I would not hesitate to say, probably not or they simply just don’t care. In fact, we are now in the midst of entire generations who want to make fast money by selling their bodies live on video to either gain notoriety or by selling drugs to children all in the name of “I got what I wanted”. My God people! WAKE UP! There was a time when not even rock musicians would commercialize their products or themselves because they would lose their fan base.
Look, I am not saying that debased behavior never existed. I am simply saying that why are we, as a nation, celebrating it?
I don’t care what you have to say to your children or your parents for that matter to shake them out of this mind set. But shake them out you must. Forget the ‘freedom’ stuff and provide some rules and boundaries. For the love of God, don’t just hand over a new car to your 16 year old because they whined that they wanted one. My God, if you have this kind of wealth, at least make them spend a summer volunteering in Africa. Or better yet, even a week volunteering at a local youth camp composed of underprivileged children might bring forth some sense of appreciation and perspective.
We are rewarding kids for all of the wrong reasons who have become adults who expect to be rewarded in the same fashion. We are not honoring anything that is foundational or of real and lasting value. We are teaching them from some convoluted sense of pride that probably resulted from our own decisions that end in statements of, “I got what I wanted”.
It is not wrong to accumulate wealth. It is not wrong to be able to give your children more than you had. It is not wrong to want them to have the best if you earn it. But it is wrong if by doing so we are teaching them that anything goes as long as they get what they want.
In the name of Jesus and for the sake of this generation and the next—STOP!