Recently on an airplane ride to a business meeting I spent some time reflecting on the people around me. I am a people watcher and as such I enjoy seeing how people react or act under different situations. Along with this, lately I have been unsettled by something I didn’t seem to understand. The world around us has been changing dramatically in recent years and somehow it all didn’t add up in my mind. These are exciting times but they are also dangerous times. And then it hit me, we have been creating a world of needy people.

As I watched the people around me on the airplane I couldn’t help but see how things have gone from a culture of self-sufficiency to one of needy people. Stewardesses, although there to facilitate the security and to some extent the comfort of the traveling public are not babysitters but there they were baby-sitting spoiled adults. I understand that Southwest Airlines’ primary goal is to attract a fickle traveling public in order to excel in their industry. As such they force their stewardesses to keep a smile on their face regardless of the circumstances or the childishness of the people they are dealing with. They have a hard job and I do not envy them.

It all starts at the boarding gate, my favorite kindergartener can count from one to fifty without missing a beat. Why can’t the adults lining up to board, not understand that “A” group boards first with other group “A” members in numeric order? “B” group does not board until after “A” group. “ABC”, get it? And just because you have a child, or two, does not mean you should get special treatment and the right to check-in late and still expect to board with group “A”? A child does not extend special privileges.

Oh and don’t get me started on luggage. It is a simple concept; there is a finite amount of space for your luggage inside the aircraft. And, there is a limit to the number of carry-ons you can carry on board. That means, that a purse and a computer are each one item and therefore that over-sized suit case and backpack means you are carrying four items on board, instead of two. Remember two plus two equals four, not two.

And, more importantly, a protruding backpack, especially an overloaded one on your back means that if you turn around to wrestle your oversized wheeled suitcase down a narrow aisle means you slam someone in the face every time you turn around to tug on that suitcase that is not meant to be carried on the plane.

If the over-sized bag that is too heavy for you to lift doesn’t fit down the aisle, what makes you think it will fit in the overhead bin? It is simple geometry, it just doesn’t fit! And for those that insist on sharing your snoring sound-effects with the rest of us, remember that regardless of whether your spouse may or may not enjoy your comfort sleep, the fact remains that they chose to share it with you, not us. Go to sleep the night before and save us from your snoring sound effects. That also means bathe and wash your clothes, the rest of us on the plane do not want to partake of your cooking smells emanating from your clothes or your body scent. It’s a shared ride, not your private plane.

That goes for fat people. Yes, I wrote “fat”. Part of being a society of needy people is that we have accepted the notion that we do not call things what they really are, rather we should refer to them in a nice way, as if nice fixes the problem. Fat is a personal choice, whether psychological or medical it is still a choice we make by accepting it. If you choose to be fat, do not expect to be given preferential treatment to board the aircraft or park in handicap areas. Loose the weight or fix the problem, do not ignore it. And if you choose to ignore it, remember that it is your choice and not anyone else’s, so guess what, you need to buy two tickets, not just one. If you need a belt extender you need two tickets. It is as simple as that!

Unfortunately the saddest thing is the children that are shuttled from city to city on an airplane because parents just can’t seem to take personal responsibility for their own actions. You chose to have child. If you can’t afford to travel with them, then sacrifice and live in the city that the other parent is at. Stewardesses are not baby sitters and should not have to deal with a child, period.

Oh, and by the way, ObamaCare wouldn’t even be an issue today if people understood that the high cost of medical health is not about the quality of life but rather our own irresponsible behavior. We are obese and sick because we refuse to take personal responsibility for our lives. Children are taught at a young-age that anything that ails them is fixed by going to the doctor or taking medicine. Scrape your knee and the first thing the parent does is take out the non-stinging ointment. How about plain old simple soap and water? That always worked, why not now? Oh, that’s right, because the kid may cry louder because it stings. The lesson for the child is don’t worry; if you screw up I’ll still make it better. We all learn from our failures. It stings because we are not supposed to do things that lead to injuries. That’s how we learn from the pain that accompanies our own stupidity.

In a world of personal responsibility there wouldn’t be a need for psychologists because we wouldn’t need someone to tell us that its ok, all will be all right soon regardless of our own stupidity. In a world of personal responsibility there wouldn’t be Barney Madoff stealing money because those that ignored the warning signs because they were making more money than logically possible because they were greedy are not victims. Labeling them victims is ignoring the fact that they expect the world to watch out for them rather than them taking personal responsibility for their own actions.

This leads me to the nexus of the whole problem and that is that parents are bringing up needy people. It is a world-wide problem where children are taught from an early age that personal responsibility is not an important part of their lives. Schools no longer allow sports where scores are kept in primary school because the child’s feelings may get hurt. Deal with it! Life is full of disappointments! There are winners and there are losers to everything. The sooner a child learns that, the better we all are.

Schools are reluctant to give grades out because a child shouldn’t know that they are a looser. Bull-crap, if a child is failing he or she needs to know that. How else is a child going to understand that it takes hard work to excel? A child is never too young to learn the meaning of failure. It is part of life and we should all strive to avoid it but we all need to understand that sometimes we fail while other times we win. The sooner we learn that, the better, as a society, we all are.

Children need to be taught that church, or other public places are places that have certain behavioral standards. At the grocery stores or at the church services, parents seem to have the notion that catering to the child’s wishes teaches them responsibility. You don’t have to beat a child to teach them personal responsibility you just have to take the time to deal with them. If the child fidgets in church, talks or doesn’t pay attention the solution is simple, teach them not to do it again. For every action there is a reaction. Parents, now-a-days, think that little “Johnny’s” antics in public are cute, rather than a lack of personal responsibility.

Parents are perpetuating the concept of needy people.

Parents have decided to forgo their responsibility and instead plop their children in front of a television set, a computer or both and let their children grow up on their own. Sometimes they expect the babysitter to do the parenting. And then they complain that society is all screwed up.

Making a better world starts at home with you. Lead by example and teach your children that personal responsibility is the only way to live. Living that way eliminates the excuses that ail the world today. This notion that it “takes a village” to raise a family is cop out designed to make people dependent rather than free. It is personal responsibility that makes us free.

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...