the children are not entitled

August 4, 2007

The trumpet duet in the first song of P-ville High’s marching show is the topic of some frustration. Not only did it create a situation in which two seniors threatened to quit band, but it made the Head director (we’ll call her Mrs. Head) cry just a little, and made me quite frustrated.

It is not that the duet is really challenging, or that the students involved would not be deserving of such a duet. The true problem lies in that the students, J and C, thought they deserved the duet because they were seniors. This was the total of their rationale. Forget that they found out second hand from my flapping mouth that there would be an audition, and forget that the two melophone players who want to try for the duet sound pretty amazing. Two seniors simply walked into Mrs. Head’s office, confronted with news that she’d heard they wanted to quit band because she’d violated some sense of tradition. Senior, apparently, get solos and features by default, and no one has the authority to change that.

Mrs. Head cries a little, voices her disappointment, and tries to repair the egos of the crest-fallen and rather angry students.

I, on the other hand, am seething in the corner, wanting desperately to lash out at the kids. They do not deserve anything. Wait, let me rephrase that: They should be honored to be typically credited with a solo or duet, and should not have this raised-nose attitude of entitlement (buzz word!).

It infuriates me to think that a student should feel they are deserving they are worth something before they prove that worth, save for the few things like personal safety, a sense of well-being, and human rights. I was not raised to believe that things should be handed to you simply because you have reached the appropriate level of…anything. I am only 23! I fall into the typical age range that is known for its inability to work for success. I will admit to my own non-desire for work yet still want money, but I damn well make sure I thank my mother every chance I get, and I do my best not to abuse the charity that she shows me so incredibly often.

To have two students come to me and tell me they deserve to do anything because they are seniors, or because they are 6’0″, or because they just happen to own an original copy of Richie Valens’s Nevada driver’s license is far below acceptable. My father may have messed up a lot of things, but I did learn one thing from him: “I don’t care if you are black, white, or purple polka-dotted; when you come out here, you work.”

Do you hear that, children of the entitlement generation? Earn your keep. Make your way. If you want that duet, you have to prove you are worth it. If you want it bad enough, you’ll earn it properly.


  1. I am worth it! I want the duet!

    Oh wait, I don’t even play the trumpet.

  2. *slaps your hands and denies you supper*

  3. Amen!

  4. Bugs, you and I are on the SAME WAVELENGTH. Did you read Teacher’s Education today….?

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