Ownership, Stewardship, and Entitlement

Ownership, Stewardship, and Entitlement.   We can sometimes get lost in the feelings of ownership and entitlement. We feel entitled to what we own, and do not think twice about what we do with it.   We are not here simply to live and pass away for nothing. If we are to make progress in our lives, we must think of ourselves as stewards. We must recognize that life is more than what we see and have right now.
Disclosure: This article was originally written for and published in Each Peso Counts. Sadly, the blog isn't around anymore.

Companies typically have what they call core values. And in one of my previous companies, one of the core values was stewardship.

I still remember our executive talking about it. He explained that we should act not as employees but as part owners of the company. That we should take responsibility and help in the growth and success of the company because we should realize that the company's success is our success.

But recently, I began to understand this more deeply after reading a quote from Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala on the importance of stewardship in the continued success of Ayala Corporation:

"Ownership is a right of possession. Stewardship is a fiduciary role. It is holding the institution in ‘trust for’ the next generation. We feel, as a family, that this institution has been passed on to us for our care and not for us to dissipate or do what we will with it for our personal gain."

This struck a deeper cord when I thought about two scenarios. One was how some people have the mentality of expecting children to take on the burden of caring for them. The other was how rich affluent parents provide for their children's needs even into adulthood.

On face value they seem like opposite situations. But thinking about it, they seem to be different faces of the same problem.

People grow up and acquire wealth feeling that they own it. And then they shower it on their children, who then feel entitled to it. Some people squander their opportunities to succeed, but feel entitled to receive the care of their children.

The problem I see is that we can sometimes get lost in the feelings of ownership and entitlement. We feel entitled to what we own, and do not think twice about what we do with it.

No one can begrudge a person for enjoying the fruits of his or her labor. But if we live only to spend the wealth we acquire, what purpose does it serve? What legacy does that leave behind? What message does that send to our children?

I believe that we are not here simply to live and pass away for nothing. If we are to make progress in our lives, we must think of ourselves as stewards. We must recognize that life is more than what we see and have right now.

We are not owners of what we possess. What we have is not ours to lose or squander as we please. It is something we must hold in trust for our children.

But not even our children are owners; they themselves are stewards. And it is our responsibility to teach them that. Whatever wealth or benefits they may enjoy today or in the future, it is neither their right nor privilege to squander away. They must also hold it in trust for the next generation.

Stewardship is a responsibility of everyone, all the generations that came before and all that have yet to arrive.

We must realize that we are not entitled to what we have. We have acquired it or it has been given to us so that we may preserve it, nurture it, and pass it on to the next generation.



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photo credit: Hamed Saber via photopin cc


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