I fight entitlement in my daughter as much as I can. I don’t want her to grow up into a middle-class snob.
Don’t get me wrong: I'd like her to live well. But I also need her to know that she’s lucky. I talk to her about the poor, about children I've met through work who eat cereal without milk for dinner. It's important that she hears how well-off she is.
“A lot of middle-class people who were born working-class regret that their children will assume privilege and not know anxiety,” social commentator Richard Rodriguez told me. “Children of the middle class assume it’s all given to them.”
Some middle-class people from blue-collar families say they worry they won’t even like their kids, because their core values are so different.
A guy I know grew up poor and now lives in the Boston suburbs, where they burn supermarket logs in fancy fireplaces – sweet bourgeois air freshener.
Fighting creeping entitlement, he sits his sons down and says stuff like, “Isn’t this a nice fire?” “Isn’t this a big living room?”
Still, the father thinks these talks are not enough, and so he has decided not to pay for their college educations, believing it will help mold better men.
I’m not saying I won’t be writing a check to some university some day. But I think it’s reasonable to make a kid work for everything she gets.