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Old 08-22-2014, 07:37 PM   #41
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Welcome Rushmore!

I did get a little bit of that from my dad but not that much. It wasn't the education itself but he wanted me to study engineering. I didn't have the math aptitude for that, I knew it and I had no interest in it anyway since I loathed the idea of working inside some large building somewhere. So the major was Criminal Justice. He didn't actively oppose it, but said "Well, I guess anything might put food on the table someday". Not exactly a voice of enthusiasm.

I never got the chance to prove him wrong because he died the week before I was notified that I was hired. And my first paycheck was half again bigger than his.
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Old 08-23-2014, 08:05 AM   #42
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Hi Rushmore! Your Dad must have been really self centered and insecure to feel that way about his child. A parent should WANT their kids to have a better life than they had. That's a hard pill to take. It's worse than having parents that are indifferent. Glad you broke the chain. And now your kids may fly free.
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Old 08-23-2014, 11:05 AM   #43
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Welcome! I understand where you are coming from - my Dad was pretty supportive but Mom's message to all of us kids was, "Remember, you're no better than anyone else." She had the ability to grind any accomplishment down so that you didn't feel like it meant much. This message was also widespread among my acquaintances and their families. A related example: somewhere along the line, I realized that if I didn't talk like I was a hick from the Ozarks, I might get a little more respect from people who could provide me with opportunities. So I worked very hard on my speaking manner and it really did work. But I caught so much flak from friends and family that it was not an easy decision to keep it up. I already related the story of my grandmother's message for me on the way to college. I am sure that my choices of major, employment, spouse, and living location all reinforced her belief that I was going to hell. That remains to be seen, but I have certainly lived a much more secure life because of the choices that I made.
My mom grew up dirt poor on the gulf coast, LA, Biloxi, etc. Even though she says how proud she is of her kids' successes, she is very insecure and makes lots of off handed remarks about our "rich" lifestyle, my fancy wife and in-laws, etc. (They are not actually well off or fancy but they are solid middle class--fancy from her perspective.)

It causes some grief but I've also grown accustomed to it.
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Old 08-23-2014, 02:16 PM   #44
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Interesting since I grew up the opposite. Parents both professionals, retired at 57 and still, 25 years later, going strong. Parents still in love with each other and are inseparable.

Since my dad was a diplomat with a lot of third world assignments. We always had maids, cooks and gardeners around the house. Parents were very supportive growing. Also, we got good financial lessons from them, we still had to work for an allowance plus I learned to read the stock quotes in the Stars and Stripes (who reads stock quotes these days?).

Fast forward, while I am retired, both my sisters pretty much live paycheck to paycheck. I just got a check from my parents as a gift but I think that it was because my sister needed money to keep her house (and horses).

So, growing up with a stable household is not necessarily a guarantee. (I suspect though that at least one sister is an alien implant).
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Old 08-23-2014, 02:31 PM   #45
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So, growing up with a stable household is not necessarily a guarantee. (I suspect though that at least one sister is an alien implant).
I was waiting for the opposite view! I grew up knowing lots of kids from very wealthy, powerful families. Big, old money.

Many ended up ok but quite a few are now one step ahead of homelessness or dead. Drugs played a big part as did the lack of any need for getting a job.

Eventually, Daddy might get fed up and cut the funding and .... down you go.

In a way it's worse because all they had to do was 'maintain' things but instead they threw it away.
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Old 08-23-2014, 03:24 PM   #46
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Eventually, Daddy might get fed up and cut the funding and .... down you go.

In a way it's worse because all they had to do was 'maintain' things but instead they threw it away.
I've seen that happen a lot. I worked in law enforcement in one of the country's wealthiest and most educated areas (and forget Beverly Hills Cop, that's a movie, not real life) and saw a huge number of dysfunctional families, kids in serious trouble because of it, and so on. Wealth gives them easier access to the resources to address those issues but not necessarily the wisdom to use those resources.

And the kids have to want to make the effort to stand on their own. Many of them don't regardless of upbringing and social status. I've seen many a parent finally give up on an adult child after years or even decades of trying and after spending what was to me mind-boggling amounts of money on treatment, counseling, rehabs, and the like.
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Old 08-23-2014, 03:38 PM   #47
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"Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded - here and there, now and then - are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as 'bad luck.'" The Notebooks of Lazurus Long by Robert A. Heinlein
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Old 08-23-2014, 03:45 PM   #48
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"Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded - here and there, now and then - are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as 'bad luck.'" The Notebooks of Lazurus Long by Robert A. Heinlein
+1

My all time FAVORITE quote.
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Joining the military as a way out
Old 08-23-2014, 04:26 PM   #49
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Joining the military as a way out

Seems like the military has been the escape mechanism for many of us, including me (USN)

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Luckily, I was able to escape Appalachia, join the military and put myself through college.
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I barely graduated, but was able to get into the USAF and everything changed.
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I also escaped by going into the Air Force and on to school.
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I joined the service (USAF) at 18 and went from there.
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I escaped my working class childhood via the Navy, then paying my way through college.
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Old 08-23-2014, 04:28 PM   #50
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Hi Rushmore! Your Dad must have been really self centered and insecure to feel that way about his child. A parent should WANT their kids to have a better life than they had. That's a hard pill to take. It's worse than having parents that are indifferent. Glad you broke the chain. And now your kids may fly free.
My experience with working class parents and teaching working class kids is that many parents DO want their kids to have a better life, but NOT VERY MUCH better.

They especially are fearful that their kids will move away and leave the community. This has proven an obstacle to helping kids in many communities - I personally experienced the dynamic when I was teaching in small towns in Iowa, DW and I are familiar with some of the effects on Native American populations, and I have seen references to studies on inner city kids that reflect the same situation. Parents want their kids to do better but they also want their kids to stay in the community. Sometimes (often?) staying in the community is more important.
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Old 08-23-2014, 05:56 PM   #51
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Seems like the military has been the escape mechanism for many of us, including me (USN)
Yes, me too. At 19 I left a dysfunctional home and joined the AF. I returned to see the status quo, then went to college after Viet Nam and never looked back. I have one sister left and she is OK, but her husband never worked a day in his life. Their two children are OK and have menial jobs. From what I can gather, I am the only person in my family (sisters, cousins, nephews, etc) that has a college degree.

Every time I visit my sister, which is very infrequently, I feel like I was the only one who escaped.
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Old 08-23-2014, 06:00 PM   #52
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Back in 1998, I exchanged correspondence with my brother, who in addition to being a computer engineer, was also a linguist. He passed away, too early in 2004. He was a friend of Noam Chomsky, so we had some interesting conversations via email, about the state of America, and the benefits attending to birth and family.
Recently, before destroying some old hard drives, I found one of my old letters to him... Not really directly applicable to this thread, my thinking at the time.
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Old 08-23-2014, 06:15 PM   #53
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What I find interesting is - five kids - one makes it out and the other 4 don't.
Same parenting, same neighborhood, same schools, same opportunities.

It is more surprising to figure what the one that made it out had over the four that didn't.
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Old 08-23-2014, 07:14 PM   #54
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What I find interesting is - five kids - one makes it out and the other 4 don't.
Same parenting, same neighborhood, same schools, same opportunities.

It is more surprising to figure what the one that made it out had over the four that didn't.
Ever play with a litter of puppies? Some brash and exploring, some timid and hiding in the corner.........seemingly all identical otherwise.
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Old 08-23-2014, 07:45 PM   #55
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What I find interesting is - five kids - one makes it out and the other 4 don't.
Same parenting, same neighborhood, same schools, same opportunities.

It is more surprising to figure what the one that made it out had over the four that didn't.
Or in a more mild fashion, in my family there were four kids. My brother and I are #2 and #3 of 4. He and I are both millionaires (I was a salaryman, he is an entrepreneur), both my sisters live essentially paycheck to paycheck. Nobody is starving, but there is a wide gap in outcomes. Same parenting, etc. If anything, my sisters (#1 and #4) should have bigger differences in outcomes given the disparity in their ages and the fact that my parents were much better off by the time my younger sister showed up.
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Old 08-23-2014, 11:43 PM   #56
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I was very lucky that my parents both "broke the cycle" and were able to give me a supportive middle class upbringing, stressing independence / self-reliance as the most important goal.

My mothers father left them at her birth in the midst of the depression. My father grew up in Nazi Germany and was allowed into the US after the war after defecting in 1942. I had it very easy.
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Old 08-24-2014, 07:30 AM   #57
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Back in 1998, I exchanged correspondence with my brother, who in addition to being a computer engineer, was also a linguist. He passed away, too early in 2004. He was a friend of Noam Chomsky, so we had some interesting conversations via email, about the state of America, and the benefits attending to birth and family.
Recently, before destroying some old hard drives, I found one of my old letters to him... Not really directly applicable to this thread, my thinking at the time.
Interesting perspective of things as they were/are/will be. Thank you for sharing.
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Old 08-24-2014, 08:46 AM   #58
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Interesting letter Imolderu. And that's just the way it is. Much like the article in this thread. The rules are not equal and never have been.

As to leaving home and breaking the cycle...I think birth order has something to do with your place in life, too. First borners leave home and strike out on their own more often than the other nestlings?
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Old 08-24-2014, 09:21 AM   #59
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Welcome Rushmore. I can relate to your situation, similar to mine. Glad you figured the way out, many don't. I had to go to the same extremes by moving 1500 miles away.

My dry DF wanted to control my life too. He promised a full ride to PSU, under the condition I dumped my future wife. No, I never made it to college, just night courses. It was enough to get me into Megacorp. You'll hear me complain about the insane hours there, very true. What I've never said was how many mentors and role models I had there. I looked around, these people were talking about investments, the profit sharing, financial independence, 401k. Wow how different than how I grew up. Hundreds of people that I could look to for guidance. Many I consider friends today. Oh, that future wife, we celebrated our 39th anniversary last month.
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Old 08-24-2014, 10:14 AM   #60
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Interesting letter Imolderu. And that's just the way it is. Much like the article in this thread. The rules are not equal and never have been.

As to leaving home and breaking the cycle...I think birth order has something to do with your place in life, too. First borners leave home and strike out on their own more often than the other nestlings?
I think that's often true. The more dysfunctional the family, the quicker the firstborn must grow up. DH and I are both first born. I come from your "typical" middle class family (some dysfunction, some good -- how much you let it influence who you become may depend mostly on your in-born personality). My husband on the other hand grew up extremely poor. We just got back from a trip to his mother, trying to help her out -- and that experience is why this thread caught my eye. She's one to talk about how rough her life is, but most of it is her own making. DH grew up with this hyper-religious, angry, hoarding mother, and yet NEVER complains about his childhood. Mostly, he's pretty flat about his past (neither nostalgic nor angry). It's one of the things I most admire about him. I had more resentment about things from my childhood than he, and I've learned to better appreciate what I had.

As to the question of breaking free. DH was born at the end of 1949, but grew up without a father and even without indoor plumbing. However, he was born very intelligent, and perhaps because he was the first born or because he was kind of a nerdy kid, he studied hard. He was his high school valedictorian, and attended college on a full scholarship. His mom still had a copy of his valedictory speech, and this shows just how much he grew because of going away to college (he went out of state). So, I agree, had he not gotten away from home, he might not have done as well. However, he is also white, and was poor rural (not poor inner city). I think inner city can be harder to break out of, and actual abuse can be devastating. He didn't have those hurdles.

Another thing, though, is that people tend to determine how well they are doing by comparing themselves to others. When you come from this type of background, everything is so successful in comparison, that a person might not push themselves as hard. While we are certainly what most folks would consider successful, would he have accomplished more had he had that expectation and example all along? Probably. I don't know that he'd be happier -- we're content. But still, it's likely someone with his intelligence would have accumulated even more, pretty effortlessly, given different expectations from the start.

However, his mom must have done some things right, as both him and his brother did fine, and her grandkids are also in good shape (none wealthy, but solidly middle class). I think his brother married the right woman, and wasn't bothered that she earned more than him. This may be due to the rural family values, which provide a framework even when poorly applied.

One final thought (sorry this is so long). DH and I understand the the experience of people in poverty. Some folks do make poor decisions or get stuck, but it doesn't make them any less human. I've seen as much bad behavior from non-poor, but they often just have a better safety net. We don't sit in judgement and expect perfection from poor people, when we ourselves make mistakes, and much of what we have is luck or having learned how to spot and take advantage of an opportunity. What we find unfortunate, is that some of the poorest people (at least rural) are the strongest supporters of politicians whose platforms are harmful to these same folks. My MIL recently had her SNAP benefits decreased. She's upset about that, but is uber-conservative. She doesn't think she should have to pay anything to the government for programs to help "those people" (which, she doesn't), but thinks of herself as a good person who just fell on hard times and should get help from the government. She sees herself and her benefits as different from the no-name poor masses. She's sort of indoctrinated into these conservative beliefs, without getting how it applies to her situation. I think this is a real issue among a lot of rural poor.
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