Skip to main content

Nurturing Responsible Privilege

Can it be done? I sure hope so.

While I still identify with my working class background, I also acknowledge the numerous privileges I have earned. My mother always let my sisters and I know that my parents moved us into our school district for the "better" education we would get. This wasn't just so we would get a good education, it was so that we would have better career options than our parents had and thus for our children to have a "better" life.

So here I sit with bachelor's and masters degrees in my fairly comfortable upper middle class life. wow.

What got me thinking about all of this were two things:

1) Our daughter came home with a note about an after-school science program. My husband asked her if she wanted to do it and she said yes. He immediately filled out the application and was ready to grab the checkbook to pay the almost $200 fee. WOW. I pulled out of Model UN and color guard camp for money reasons. Thus when I did get to participate in something it was a real privilege. One reason why I started working in high school was so that I could buy my own shampoo that was cruelty-free. My dad worked for a major cosmetic company (that tested on animals) and we got a ton of free stuff. The fact that we can pay for an after-school program without much thought is still breathtaking to me.

2) My daughter was skipping and jumping around campus on Friday. She said that it was her home. She was toting her notepads and crayons in a tote bag that I got in New Orleans at the 1996 American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists Annual Meeting. Seriously, how many kids are this exposed to science at this age? At all? I was sitting, watching her climb and was overcome with jealousy.

I am jealous of all the things we will be able to provide her that I could only dream of when I was a kid. If she wants to go to Space Camp, done. Tennis shoes worn out? Let's head to the store. Sports lessons? Sure thing. What keeps her from being six with six different lessons is our desire to not wear her too thin.

In the same heartbeat I am proud that we can provide her with these things. We played by the rules: Worked hard, went to college and got good paying jobs. We have been rewarded - not richly, but just enough.

Now I'm pondering how do I raise her to value all these things that we can provide her? How to raise her with knowledge of how we got to this point without being all "when I was your age..." I feel like we're at this critical point in her development that if I don't figure it out, she'll grow up to be a spoiled ungrateful kid. Then again, she's such a loving and caring person that it's hard to see her turn out like that ever.

Perhaps living in an old home where we put plastic on the windows in the winter and still haven't remodeled the kitchen will help temper her own view of her privilege.


Note: I put better in quotes here because it's a value judgement. Was my childhood terrible? No. Could it had been better with more money in the bank? Maybe. Will my daughter have a better childhood? Can't say. But she will have more opportunities than I did.

Comments

Unknown said…
Its funny...I was just thinking about this the other day. I grew up with no wants....my parents weren't rich by any means but we fit into the tier of upper middle class. Even when my father went on strike from the paper mill...my mom had been so good at saving money when we made a lot of it that we never really felt the pinch like some of the other families in the neighborhood. With that being said....I still feel at times that I'm "making up" for things I felt I lacked in my childhood...but mine are more emotional....I hug Isabelle...I cuddle her...I tell her I love her. It isn't that my mother didn't do these things....I'm sure she did from time to time....but still today I'm an attention/touch "whore" because I just can't get enough affection....I'm hoping I can help some of that in my own daughter. And I do think that more is available to our daughters than when we were in school. My daughter is taking a Pastel Art Class in 1st grade....and if she wanted to go to some nature/science/math/save the world camp...I'd find a way for her to go...

You are a fantastic mom....and you and the Senor make great choices for the kid. I'm proud to call you my friend.

Popular posts from this blog

Review: Mary: The Adventures of Mary Shelley's Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Granddaughter

Mary: The Adventures of Mary Shelley's Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Granddaughter by Brea Grant My rating: 4 of 5 stars View all my reviews

Frederick, A Virtual Puppet Performance - Read by Michael Shannon

WOW...this is my first post during the Coronavirus pandemic! I hope you and your loved ones are healthy and safe. Thanks to the Chicago Children’s Theatre, the city’s largest professional theater devoted exclusively to children and families, for launching a new YouTube channel, CCTv: Virtual Theatre and Learning from Chicago Children’s Theatre. To kick if off we are treated to Frederick. Here's hoping this helps with your little ones. Or is a comfort to everyone of all ages. Chicago Children’s Theatre’s all-new virtual puppet performance was created while all of the artists were sheltering in place, working with resources limited to what they had in their homes or on their laptops. Frederick is directed by CCT Co-Founder and Artistic Director Jacqueline Russell. Puppets and sets were designed, built and puppeteered in a home studio by Grace Needlman and Will Bishop, CCT’s Director of Production, the creative team behind CCT’s annual series of Beatrix Potter puppet show

Book Review: Wolfpack by Abby Wambach

Less than a year ago, Abby Wambach took the stage at Barnard's commencement and gave a speech that shook many, including myself, to the core . Her speech went viral and I made the above image in order to share the highlights of her speech. Earlier this month Abby released the speech in book form. Wolfpack : How to Come Together, Unleash Our Power, and Change the Game is short (less than 100 pages) but is much more than just her speech . You get a peek into how the speech came together and why she said everything. And because the book is short and is an expanded speech, it moves quickly. I feel that it moves with the same ferocity that Abby use to move down a soccer field. And you might find yourself cheering as she takes you through the story. Abby has always been one of my favorite players. The way she ran amok on the pitch was exactly the way I felt I played sports. Never caring how you looked and giving it your all. Leaving it all on the field. When she retired from socc