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Celebrating being "Self Made" is uniquely middle class

  • , by Jacob Wolki
  • 2 min reading time
Celebrating being "Self Made" is uniquely middle class

I’ve never been one to dwell on inheritance. The idea of planning and waiting for a cheque after the passing of a family member icks me. You can watch families implode after the passing of a loved one. I think it’s disgusting. Families taking each other to court to contest the will of the dead.

How sad is it to contest the wishes of your dying parent, grandfather, uncle, or spouse for personal gain -- presumably at the cost of your own family!

I have 3 children now and am thinking, what would I like to leave them? Of course, we want to program values, work ethic, etc.

But materially?

Nothing?

It’s my money. Blow it all and live it up. Let them pave their own way -- right? That’s what I used to encourage my grandparents to do. After all, I was going to be a self-made man. Society promotes and celebrates a ‘self-made man’.

Well, folks, I think a self-made man is an achievement worth moot. Sure, it takes hard work, discipline, and a bit of luck. But where is their tight family unit? What we should really be celebrating is healthy family units. Families that can invest in their children’s business dreams. Grandparents that can chip in for a house down payment. Uncles that can give encouraging wedding gifts.

In our culture, receiving these opportunities and leg ups from family is always wanted -- but not acknowledged publicly. People are embarrassed to be seen as being on the gravy train. This is unique to the middle class. Imagine being embarrassed that your family worked hard and smart, saved, planned for the future, and raised a child (in this thought experiment - you) that they believed was responsible enough to receive a substantial capital injection.

Is every person well enough put together to receive a lump sum of $? Unfortunately not. 

As for me and my family, my ultimate dream is that Ann and I can create a space on our property where some of my children and their future spouses would be willing to build homes and put down roots. How this looks exactly, I don’t know, considering we don’t even own land…yet!

But the idea of having some land with a homestead, and helping out the next generation with building titles and resources so we can stay close and be involved in each other’s lives, sounds great to me. The idea of integrating my children into a multi-generational business is exciting. I want to work with my sons, like I worked with my father. Just how he worked with his.

For years my paternal grandpa has told a quote that his mother used to cite: “Live far away enough from your parents that you can’t see their chimney smoke”. The idea is to get out of each other’s pockets and have some space. I think this is malware and that this sentiment is the beginning of devaluing and degrading the family unit. There is nothing I would love more than to have a strong enough relationship with my children that we could all flourish together.

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