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"Money doesn't buy happiness" 
18 November 2012 01:05 - "Money doesn't buy happiness"
rosefox: A cartoon cockroach in a bow tie counting gold coins. (money)
Posted as a comment in a friend's locked entry, something I've been thinking about:

I realized recently that the classic "I want my kids to be wealthier/higher-class than I was when I was a kid" American dream doesn't seem to be a big thing for most of my friends who have or want kids. Instead, they're focused on "I want my kids to have a more emotionally healthy/stable home life than I did when I was a kid".

Obviously that sort of thing can only be a priority if one has a certain degree of financial stability, but it's interesting to me that I hear it so clearly and frequently articulated in a way that feels very 21st-century to me. I hear much less about wanting class mobility for the next generation, and I'm not sure whether that's because class mobility happens much more rarely now--in other words, that it's easier to imagine teaching kids to be happy with what they have than teaching them to strive for better--or because happiness is generally more valued than money among my friends or what.

Is this true for you and/or your friends? Related thoughts?
 
18 November 2012 06:13
ext_423291: (Default)
It's probably one of those cultural things that come in waves. One generation is focused on the material, which prompts the next generation to focus on the "spiritual" I guess (but not in a religious sense). The recession probably has something to do with it too---I feel like things are so fucked that even if I had children, they wouldn't be able to escape the fucked-up-ness of our financial system, and thus escape velocity for social movement is nixed.

I would definitely concentrate on being happy with life. It's not so much that money can't buy happiness, but that it's not an option for most people anymore.
18 November 2012 07:30
azurelunatic: Azz and best friend grabbing each other's noses.  (Default)
I'm a non-traditional quasi-parent, and happiness is a big thing. Safety and freedom are the number one concerns, I think.
18 November 2012 13:04
willow: Red haired, dark skinned, lollipop girl (Default)
I can't help wondering, how many of your friends are non-white. As well as, you stated, WHERE they are on the hierarchy of wealth.
18 November 2012 13:38
crystalpyramid: crystal pyramid suspended in dimensional abnormality (Default)
I want both. My mom raised 3 kids on $17K/year of child support, and I never want to subject anyone else to that kind of financial insecurity again. But even that is arguably about stability, not wealth. The sins I most deeply feel the need to remedy in the next generation are about emotional health. Part of it is probably that I teach rich kids, and they are just as screwed-up, while not knowing how to listen to the problem of people without their level of privilege. And part of it is that wealth doesn't motivate me at all, and there is no way I'll ever end up actually wealthy on purpose.

The few of my friends with kids seem to be doing a good job of providing them with both (more emotional and financial stability). Most of my agemates don't seem driven by the dream of children the way I am, though, so it's hard to tell. Maybe that's the other thing, that it's so hard to pursue wealth and children at the same time.
18 November 2012 21:05
metaphortunate: (ambition)
For me, it's a combination of a number of things.

1) As a kid, I already had more money than was probably good for me. The Junebug doesn't need more than that.

2) And quite a few if not most of my parents' friends had more money than we did, and quite a few of their kids were Fucked. Up.

3) and probably most importantly, Mr. E has enough money/earning power that I think the Junebug is going to be okay. I mean, I frequently worry about what will happen to us if, as mostly happens, his dad and I break up and he stays with me and our income plummets. Still, Mr. E seems a very good dad and my guess would be that the Junebug would still be taken care of and well launched in life, materially.

But also, my parents constantly tried to get me to, y'know, "do well", and instead I pissed away a lot of money in education and am now in a medium paying near-entry-level job in the most expensive part of the country, and, whatever, without going into how I've fucked up my life, I have no idea how you'd get your kid to be wealthy. Education ain't gonna do it these days. Hard work ain't gonna do it. I will do everything within my power to make sure the Junebug grows up understanding that he better not plan to have a career in the arts, fiction, or music, because he needs to be able to support himself, but my parents tried real hard to do that as well and you see how that turned out. I don't know. I just don't know.
19 November 2012 11:33
nitoda: sparkly running deer, one of which has exploded into stars (Default)
I grew up with parents who were determined that we should be brought up in better financial circumstances than they were - and they worked damned hard to ensure that we were. They also drove us very hard to achieve - and stifled us as individuals as much as they got away with, which was plenty. My kids are adults now and in a different world might have had kids of their own but they don't. For them I wanted them to have the chance to be authentic and develop as individuals respected and loved by those around them for being themselves. I think I achieved this. Also for them to sustain good relationship with their parents, which again, is much better than what I managed with mine. I'm glad I wasn't striving for them to be materially better off as both of them have been hit by health/disability issues that have prevented either of them from completing higher education, for example, or achieving well-paid employment. I have severe worries about how our son will cope when we are gone as he is on the autism spectrum and finds it difficult to cope with strangers. We're trying to build support into his life from others, but it's difficult to make even that work at the moment as his sleep patterns are so awkward. Being an individual sometimes has a lot of problem with it that being forced to fit in doesn't bring. Each generation gets problems it seems to me, they're just different ones. As a parent I was conscious of the way my parents caused me problems and avoided causing those same problems for my kids, but by doing so I caused other, different problems. I think it's inevitable.
20 November 2012 18:40
ailbhe: (Default)
Hm. I desperately want my children to be better off financially than I was, but that basically means having heat, adequate food, and not being frightened of imminent poverty. So that was easy, what with Rob being high earning and reliable and so on. Secondary to that, but more difficult to achieve - as in takes actual work, rather than is happening through accident of privilege - is not fucking them up like we were.

Also, there's no clear path to making them wealthy *adults* the way there used to be. High-grade education in reputable places doing academic stuff doesn't seem like a ticket to success any more.
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