Age of Rights versus Obligations

Throwback Thursday, from a 1998 Column:

* We live in the "Age of Rights.” Women, children, every ethnic minority group, the handicapped, pets, barnyard animals, wild animals . . . even trees have rights. Now, I’m not about to deny that the concept of rights is valid, and I’m not suggesting that some of the above have no rights, but I wonder . . . what ever happened to obligations?

I haven’t heard anyone use the term in a long time. I mean, have you ever heard of the "human obligations movement?” I think I know how this one-sided state of affairs came about. It stems back to how children are reared.

Once upon a time, children had obligations toward their families. They were obligated not to embarrass their families, for one. They were obligated to pitch in and help with the work of the family, whether it was cleaning the house or bringing in the crop. They were obligated to respect their parents.

The family was where obligation was learned. Later, it transferred to nation, employer, spouse and one’s own growing family. Many, if not most, of today’s children, I notice, are being reared in families where the only people who act like they have obligations are parents. Modern parents act like they’re obligated to buy children what they want, take them where they want to go, do their homework for them, fix bad grades, and so on.

And so lots of today’s kids act, in turn, like their first and only allegiance is to themselves. The very ideal that has held our democracy together – the willingness to make personal sacrifice for the common good – is going by the wayside.


Reblog from John Rosemond Facebook Page Copyright 1998 John K. Rosemond

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