I grew up in Northbrook. Not everyone there was super rich, but there were plenty. Not that there is anything wrong with being rich, but as I’ve gotten to know people from all walks of life, it’s weird to think that many of the people I knew growing up got hundreds of thousands of dollars as graduation gifts, received high end brand new cars when they turned 16, had celebrities at their Bar Mitzvahs, etc. And the great majority of these people turned out great and while they (and me) had many advantages in life, they still worked hard to make something of themselves.
But there are a few that could be perceived as really entitled and perhaps never having an appreciation for anything that they have. As a parent of two young kids, that is my worst nightmare.
The video above shows an inebriated Johhny Manziel acting like such a douchebag. Now if I had a camera phone on me when I was 22, I would have looked like a drunken idiot on many an occasion. But I wasn’t a first round draft pick of a desperate, blue collar NFL city. And while I applaud Manziel for living life, you do wonder how he hasn’t gotten the message of how the perception of him will become his reality and really hurt his career.
To me, Manziel comes off as extremely entitled and comparable to any of the worst people that come out of the north shore with a silver spoon. Manziel apparently comes from a Texas oil family and is in no hurry to display any humble traits. I can’t imagine that the people around him haven’t let him know that he looks like a clown, but maybe they are just enablers.
Now I could care less about him or his football team. But as a parent, I’m deathly afraid of having kids that are entitled. I perhaps over-analyze this issue, but after going on vacation for Thanksgiving two years ago, my son wanted to know why we didn’t go anywhere last year. That stressed me out since in my head he was thinking that seeing another country for the holidays was going to be the norm in his life. I am caught between the desire to share as many life experiences with my kids as possible and not wanting them to think that they can have one of these great experiences at the snap of a finger.
My wife and I try to talk to our kids about appreciating what they have and we say no to requests when in our head sometimes we want to say yes. We seek out volunteer opportunities that we can do with them. They are actually really well mannered as well. But on the flipside, my oldest child can’t believe we won’t get him a phone when “half of my class has one.” My wife astutely pointed out that means half of his class doesn’t have one.
There is really no manual for turning your child in to a good person. Some of it is nature, some of it is nurture. You can just do your best and hope for the best. When we took them to their first concert, the thoughts of the girl from my high school that had Bon Jovi play her birthday party popped in my head. To me that is an absurd waste of money. So I bought the cheapest seats I could find, not wanting them to think that they would be sitting close for every show they ever go to. Of course that backfired as it wasn’t nearly as enjoyable because it was in a large stadium and we were a ways away.
I’m just hoping that we make the right decisions for our kids. And that if one of them is an NFL draft pick, hopefully we’ve taught them that talking about how being modest, humble and appreciative is something that will really impress people, not telling them how much money you have.
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