For Christmas, my wife and I were blessed with a fantastic cruise. We so enjoy the worry-free attitude on the ship: no chores, no cooking, no cleaning, and a full week of rest and refreshment to start off the year. Despite some relatively minor frustrations (looking back) of traffic and boarding delays, the week went wonderfully.

One of our favorite past times (which I got from my parents) is “people watching.” Sometimes we simply watch as people go about their lives, and other times we go to great lengths creating stories for why we think a person dresses or behaves a certain way. It can be a fun exercise in creative storytelling, and makes for an interesting hour or so.

One thing I noticed on the cruise was the persistence of entitlement that seemed to be everywhere. We took notice of fellow cruisers raising a fuss and getting angry at the smallest inconveniences. I saw the faces of servers and crew members fall as they realized the immensity of the cruisers’ ire. Several times I became angry at this treatment, resolving to try harder to be kind and graceful myself.

I begin to wonder, though, where this attitude originates. How high does a person’s expectations have to be before they lose all decorum and go on an angry rant because a vegetable snuck its way onto their dinner plate? Does it happen over time living in an affluent society, or does it begin at home?

I wonder if these people watched their parents throw similar fits in restaurants or other establishments. I wonder what would have changed had their parents modeled more graceful behavior at home and in public? Or maybe they saw their friends act this way, or picked it up at college?

Regardless, can we, in the church collectively decide and choose to model polite, graceful behavior to the children in our care? When something goes wrong, can our reaction be one of patience and forgiveness? Maybe we can turn this shocking trend around one family, one child at a time.

And for those of you already modeling this behavior, praise the Lord for you and what you do! Keep it up!


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