My July book recommendation is “The Entitlement Cure: Finding Success in Doing the Hard Things The Right Way” by Dr. John Townsend.
I bought this book because our kids are growing up in a world where entitlement seems to be the new thing and I wanted to find a way to help them. Interestingly, as I read the book, I found it shed light on many of my relationships not just my kids! The book was very insightful and I learned so much from it! I highly recommend reading this book!
The book starts out with defining entitlement. He says, “Entitlement is the belief that I am exempt from responsibility and I am owed special treatment.” Then he talks about the solution to entitlement which he calls the Hard Way. Here is his definition of the Hard Way: “The habit of doing what is best, rather than what is comfortable, to achieve a worthwhile outcome.” The first half of the book then goes deeper into these two concepts and how we can help someone who is entitled. The second half of the book takes some big ideas and then looks at them from the Entitled vs. the Hard Way. These chapters were full of practical and helpful insight! I have listed the chapters below:
Change “I Deserve” to “I Am Responsible”
Entitlement mantra is “I deserve to be provided with a good life.” The Hard Way Mantra is “I am responsible for creating a good life.”
Do the Hard Things First:
Entitlement mantra is “The next hard thing is too difficult, so I’ll just do something else now.” The Hard Way Mantra is “Today I will choose to do something that helps resolve my obstacle and I’ll feel better.”
Keep Inconvenient Commitments:
Entitlement mantra is “If a commitment is too hard, let it go.” The Hard Way Mantra is “Do what you say you will do, the way you say you will do it, when you say you will do it.”
Respect the Future:
Entitlement mantra is “Ignore the future and focus on today.” The Hard Way Mantra is “Respect the future and let it guide today’s experience.”
Say “I Was Wrong”
Entitlement mantra is “I can’t admit fault, I would look weak and ashamed.” The Hard Way Mantra is “I need to admit wrong readily, because it will set me free.”
All of these chapters were amazing but I am going to focus today on the chapter saying I was wrong. In my quest to “own my part”, I found this chapter fascinating. I think the reason this chapter was so fascinating is that I realized that I use to say I was wrong but then add the word but after it and then plead my case of why I did what I did. I thought I was giving a valid apology but then I realized that adding a but after means you are not really owning your part fully. Listen to this quote from the book, Dr Townsend was counseling a couple and he was offering some advice to them. “When you’ve hurt someone’s feeling, the last thing you should do is explain why you did it, as if that makes it better.” He goes on to say that what you need to do is say you were wrong and mean it. He says at some point it may be helpful to hear the why but not during the apology. WOW- how many times have we said sorry and then added the word but I was only…. If we are honest, I think we all have done it. In this chapter, he also says, “You can never fix what you don’t confess.” I love this! He says, “When neither side “owns their stuff”, be it selfishness, withdrawal of love, control, judgementalism, deception, or irresponsibility, the relationship simply has nowhere to go and nothing they can fix.” Again, it goes back to owning your part fully so there can be healing. This is something I am trying to teach my kids. Listen to his parenting advice, “But one of the jobs of parenting is to help kids grow out of the blame game so that when bad things happen, the first thing out of their mouth isn’t a reactive, “not me” but a thoughtful, “Let me think what I might have contributed to this mess.” This is a goal in my home! I don’t expect perfection from my kids because none of us will be perfect but I do expect them to own their part and not blame others. Such a hard thing to do but so important! Finally, he ends with this thought, “Saying “I was wrong” is the end of things but the door to new things because nothing substantive happens in our lives until we humble ourselves enough to say the words, “I was wrong,” whether it be about how we fail ourselves or fail others or fail God.” He encourages us to make I am wrong a normal part of our vocabulary! I know that this is something I need to continue to work on so let me pray for all of us.
We all make mistakes! We all say things we regret or do things that we wish we did not do. I pray that we can make “I am wrong” a normal part of our vocabulary. Help us fully own our part and not blame others. Help us teach this to our kids too! God, thank you for your forgiveness! Amen!