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Upper & Upper Middle-Class Parents - Essential Knowledge? - Page 15

post #281 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueStateMama View Post

I don't love Shakespeare, but I have a good working knowledge of his works, characters, plotlines, major quotes etc.  Same for things like Chaucer (ugh "Canterbury Tales" was my Waterloo v. minoring in English)  I call it the "Jeopardy" factor.  I consider it a solid education to know enough about the who/what/when/how/why and that having some personal love for the Bard or or literary greats isn't necessary.  Great if you like it, but you're not a lesser academic if you don't.

 

Same for all subjective areas of arts - you don't have to love abstract painting to have a solid grasp on the Abstract Expressionist movement.  It's more essential to know about the school of work - why it was important in the context of art history etc than it is to love Kandinsky (spelling?)

 

You can appreciate the academic nature of these things without personally adoring them.


I suppose that's the real issue for me. I don't care about any of that stuff. I can't summon enough interest in it to even retain what I learn working with dd1. I suspect she already has a better grasp on art history than I do, just from a couple of books and a trip to the local art gallery. That stuff all goes in one ear (or eye) and out the other for me. I have very little ability to retain information/knowledge that doesn't interest me. And, I actually know more about both Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet, although I've never read or seen either of them, than I do about MacBeth or Taming of the Shrew, both of which I've read (and have also seen the movie version of the latter, with Elizabath Taylor). I've picked up a lot of Hamlet and Romeo & Juliet over the years, from references in books, movies, etc. I was interested in the books and movies in question, so the information stuck in my head.

 

I think maybe I'm unusually challenged at retaining things that don't interest me. I've never been very good at it.

post #282 of 345

So, so, so, ... now now now, let's get this straight ...

 

wine + philosophy = upper middle class ???

wine + philosophy + cotillion = upper upper middle ???

literature + arts = upper middle ???

literature + arts + math + sciences =  upper upper semi-upper middle ??

 

We could quantify all these combinations and assign rank to your social class.

If you only know wine - your class rank is 15.5.

If you know wine + philoshopy - it's 24.3 ...

 

I'm going for the whatever category ...

 

 

 

post #283 of 345

For me, I file it under cultural literacy. To me, it means a working knowledge of significant figures/events in history.   I'm a magpie about picking up info., so I go that route.  I may never love Shakespeare, but I can explain who he is and his significance to my children.  When they cover his works in Jr High/HS I'll be able to contribute (and will likely/hopefully learn a lot more myself from their studies and take on his works)

 

Everyone has their "thing" though - I may be nerdy about literature and art - but I know there are 100s of women here who could school me on much more practical lifeskills.  I venture into the forums about living off the grid/farming/homesteading and I'm blown away.  (no idea where the f I'd even start to learn about bee-keeping!! lol) 

 

As I mentioned, I loathe Chaucer, heck, Faulkner irritates me and ee cummings vexes me - but I've made it a point to get a basic handle on who they are and their work.  Maybe now it's time I learn some more practical skills??? lol

 

post #284 of 345

I have now read this.entire.thread.  What a rollercoaster!!!  mtiger and Adorkable - you have my sympathy for the endless attacks made upon you.  So does the OP!!!

 

Newly placed at the top of my list for you OP:

 

1.)  The ability to not take everything in the world so ridiculously personally (e.g., the OP in this case was asking a question about a social group - addressing people in that social group DOES NOT mean that OP thinks you are a worthless piece of scum because you don't make six figures - it is no different than requesting the advice of those who live in a certain country, or, for that matter, those on MDC)  This will help your children navigate perceived social injustices with grace, rather than raw indignation - because it may turn out that the offense was not even directed at them, and they would have behaved irrationally and foolishly, or burned bridges unnecessarily.

 

2.)  The ability to be secure in themselves, no matter what class they may find themselves in at the moment - As many have pointed out quite rightly, this can shift like sand.  Teach your children that they are blessed with financial security now, but that their inner worth transcends any level of income, and is independent of what anyone else may think (so that they might also not feel the need to behave so defensively or demonize the rich/poor as a group depending on their current opposite position - which is all too common).

 

3.)  The ability to refrain from turning every social conversation into a soapbox for your particular political beliefs - They are likely, in any income bracket, to be associating with people of divergent viewpoints - political debate is fine when all parties agree to it and enter into it with that understanding - morphing an otherwise apolitical conversation into your off-topic rant is not socially acceptable in any class.

 

I grew up in a solidly UMC family (certainly not millionaires, but we never went without designer clothes and three kinds of caviar in our fridge for frequent entertaining, we had housekeepers and a nanny, etc.) - then my Dad lost his lucrative banking job and we went through all our savings during his two years of underemployment.  My Mom went back to work in retail and my Dad worked telemarketer jobs and the graveyard shift at the mini-mart - we couldn't make ends meet without the charity of family members and our church.  It was a time of great upheaval in our family, but it taught us alot about budgeting.  As other have mentioned, that would benefit your children as well.

 

The main thing that your children could learn and glean from this time in their lives is...

 

4.)  How to be comfortable in social situations around all types of people, including the extremely wealthy - Because I grew up with bank VPs playing my Nintendo as a fancy cocktail party went on downstairs, I've never been intimidated to talk to anyone, nor felt the need to be aggressive or defensive when dealing with someone of a higher income or social status. It is incredibly freeing.  I do know alot of lower income families who raise their children with either an air of defiance toward the wealthy or they put them on pedestals.  This has hindered some of my friends careers and social lives because they are privately frightened of or hold secret prejudices toward rich people as a group.  They are unable to make polite conversation with them without this baggage.  This *IS* a skill your children are more likely to need in their young lives than most.  Teach them to be respectful and friendly, but not to be sycophants.  Teach them to be confident and simply themselves.

 

Yes, everyone should speak to everyone this way, and yes, lower income families should also teach it to their children.  But your children are more likely to be put in a position to interact with very wealthy people in the present, which is why I bring it up.  

 

This ability alone will help them navigate things they don't yet know (language, wine pairings, etc.), but will likely become proficient in naturally by exposure.  I agree that academic subjects can (sadly) be far less important in social conversation than social skills - with the possible exception of grammar and spelling, which will also help your children tremendously in all forms of communication. That said, manners are a given, and sports are an excellent point of conversation.  As a child we were involved in every activity from horseback riding to piano lessons, ballet to basketball, figure skating to Girl Scouts (you get the drift), pretty much every day of the week.  I would say definitely involve your children in these early on, but allow their interests to guide them and try not to overschedule them, or they may burn out (or drown in the possibilities).  Travel is always a gem for conversation, as well as general knowledge about the world and the circumstances/culture of others.  Honestly, the difference between your own experience and DHs will also help balance what they are exposed to and your guidance will help them build a more complete world view.  Just guard against their viewpoints narrowing and becoming self- (and stuff- ) centric. smile.gif

post #285 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post

I think maybe I'm unusually challenged at retaining things that don't interest me. I've never been very good at it.

Sometimes I feel like you're my long-lost twin Storm Bride!

I'm exactly like this... I can't retain things that don't interest me, though for things I DO find useful, I have a pretty amazing memory!
post #286 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post


Sometimes I feel like you're my long-lost twin Storm Bride!
I'm exactly like this... I can't retain things that don't interest me, though for things I DO find useful, I have a pretty amazing memory!


My memory's not wonderful these days (related to some health issues I'm having, I think - lots of brain fog), but it used to be exceptionally good...when I was interested in something, at least. I also had a great short-term memory, even for things that bored me, so I could cram for tests, get great marks (I never got less than an A in poetry analysis or when we studied Shakespeare, for instance - usually at least 95%, and perfect marks weren't uncommon), and then just...let it go. For even remotely long-term storage, I need to be interested.

post #287 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueStateMama View Post

For me, I file it under cultural literacy. To me, it means a working knowledge of significant figures/events in history.   I'm a magpie about picking up info., so I go that route.  I may never love Shakespeare, but I can explain who he is and his significance to my children.  When they cover his works in Jr High/HS I'll be able to contribute (and will likely/hopefully learn a lot more myself from their studies and take on his works)

 

This is it in a nutshell for me.  I certainly don't come close to having a great education and I only have a high school diploma, but I want what BSM is saying and I think I have it.  DH is much smarter than me as well as having had much more education than I but we both happily watch Jeopardy and I get plenty of answers.  It's really true that you don't have to have tons of in-depth knowledge of everything, it's knowing a bit about "everything" that I feel can make you "fit in".  

 

I do think things like wine education really are more hobby-type things than knowing the proper rules of dining.  I never drink wine so I don't have one bit of interest in learning much about it but I'd feel silly if I didn't put my napkin on my lap or ate peas with my knife.

post #288 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by Youngfrankenstein View Post

I do think things like wine education really are more hobby-type things than knowing the proper rules of dining.  


I agree. All anyone really needs to know is who and how to ask for a wine suggestion. Actually, I think asking for a suggestion can show a certain confidence, openness, and sociability. 

post #289 of 345

I haven't read this whole thread, but this is a heated discussion for sure.

 

I think that kids whose parents have more money than most parents need the same essential knowledge as all kids - learn how to be a compassionate human being, learn to enjoy learning, learn to be polite/kind/considerate, and have a variety of life experiences.

 

The one thing that I do think kids whose parents have a lot of money need to learn MORE is how to be grateful and humble - i.e. understand why your family has money, learn about why others don't, learn the value of money, learn about spending/saving, learn about charity.

 

As far as being able to hob nob with others in your class, its your choice if you want to put your kid in private school, giving them golf lessons, etc. (not that these are exclusively upper class things; insert your item of choice here). But these things are all details and are NOT!!! "essential knowledge" -- essential knowledge should be the things I mentioned first. Essential knowledge for kiddos is how to be a decent human being on the earth - wine tasting and Italian are not important factors here.

post #290 of 345

I was listening to CBC radio today in the car and my son asked me what they were talking about - it was about wine pairing with foods... :) 

 

So, public radio... ;)
 

Tjej

post #291 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by youngspiritmom View Post

The one thing that I do think kids whose parents have a lot of money need to learn MORE is how to be grateful and humble - i.e. understand why your family has money, learn about why others don't, learn the value of money, learn about spending/saving, learn about charity.

 

 



Curious on this.

post #292 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom31 View Post



Curious on this.


I'm guessing that it means teaching kids that people don't have different amounts of money for one specific reason.  I know that we try to instill in our kids that being poor isn't a moral issue.  I think as young kids they want black and white about why people have or don't and it's my job to explain all kinds of things about the world that aren't intuitive to them.  And as much as I've seen on this thread, pointing fingers at being conservative as bad...it's been my experience that many people assume if you're wealthy that you inherited a bunch of money or that you cheated and lied to get what you have.  That's not any more fair than saying someone is poor and it's their fault.

 

post #293 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by Youngfrankenstein View Post


I'm guessing that it means teaching kids that people don't have different amounts of money for one specific reason.  I know that we try to instill in our kids that being poor isn't a moral issue.  I think as young kids they want black and white about why people have or don't and it's my job to explain all kinds of things about the world that aren't intuitive to them.  And as much as I've seen on this thread, pointing fingers at being conservative as bad...it's been my experience that many people assume if you're wealthy that you inherited a bunch of money or that you cheated and lied to get what you have.  That's not any more fair than saying someone is poor and it's their fault.

 



Your statements reminded me of an article I read here today.  I had a good chuckle at the poll results and that rich is apparently defined as those who make over $150,000/year.  eyesroll.gif

post #294 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by Youngfrankenstein View Post


I'm guessing that it means teaching kids that people don't have different amounts of money for one specific reason.  I know that we try to instill in our kids that being poor isn't a moral issue.  I think as young kids they want black and white about why people have or don't and it's my job to explain all kinds of things about the world that aren't intuitive to them.  And as much as I've seen on this thread, pointing fingers at being conservative as bad...it's been my experience that many people assume if you're wealthy that you inherited a bunch of money or that you cheated and lied to get what you have.  That's not any more fair than saying someone is poor and it's their fault.

 



this is so well said, thank you

post #295 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom31 View Post



Curious on this.



Hey Mom31 - I mean that kids should understand that the reason they have more money that the average Joe (and a lot more than the world in general). This could be explained in grateful spiritual terms ("we're very blessed and should thank God for the bounty He has given us"), practical terms ("we worked really hard to save money and get here. Hard work pays off. A few generations ago our family/relatives were immigrants etc."), or even just relational terms ("We have a lot of money, and lots of people have none. This isn't because we're better than them or more deserving. Everyone has different challenges. Many people in x country don't even have fresh food or water. Remembering them can make us more grateful for how much we have. And it is important to share some of what we have with them."). Basically, I mean that kids need to learn why they have money and others don't -- even lots of adults still think they have more money because they are more deserving, better, or inherently smarter that group x or person y. This type of arrogance does not produce compassionate beings.

 

 

post #296 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by youngspiritmom View Post

Basically, I mean that kids need to learn why they have money and others don't -- even lots of adults still think they have more money because they are more deserving, better, or inherently smarter that group x or person y. This type of arrogance does not produce compassionate beings.

 

 

I agree that arrogance doesn't produce compassionate humans, but I truly don't understand why some people have so much more money than others. I see people all around me working extremely hard for very low wages. I don't buy into the "god blessing" thing because it makes no sense to me that god loves me and my family enough to make sure we have plenty of money to send our children to a lovely private school but doesn't bother to bless the poor children on the other side of town who are stuck in a school where the teachers and just trying to keep everyone safe. That makes god into a bit of an ass as far as I can see.

 

We do work hard. And we've made a lot of sacrifices for my DH's career. We've given up things that other people wouldn't. None the less, I feel nothing but grateful that we have enough money to pay medical bills, buy healthy food, and get our kids braces. I don't have any great reason that I can tell my kids for why they have grown up with more than other people.

 

All I can tell them is that what really matters in life is how they treat people. That every single person is sacred, and that being able to see that in people, even in people who don't act like it and can't see it in themselves, is what it means to live well.


 

 

post #297 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post


I recommend reading The Millionaire Next Door.

 

It's a study of self-made millionaires and how they do things, and there is some VERY interesting stuff in there on parenting and money. I think the information to be comfortable in a snotty life style is far, far less important than teaching kids financial skills. Right now, your plan could easily make your children bottomless financial pits.

 

It's not setting them up to Have Money, but rather to Spend Money. Very different things.

 

 



So true.

 

I want to start out by saying that I haven't even read through the first page and this thread is huge and I hope that isn't an indicator that you got a huge thrashing, VisionaryMom.  I am not here to thrash, but to offer some advice.

 

I grew up upper middle class and am currently living an upper middle class lifestyle.  I've had many many years here, is all I'm saying, so I've learned a few things. 

 

Wine.  I used to worry that I would make a fool out of myself ordering the wrong wine.  Now I realize that overtly pairing wine is pretty pretentious (and alliterative, apparently).  Everyone has different opinions, like what you like, get what you like, there is no wrong answer.  Whoever judges you for improper pairing is a pretentious ass.

 

Observe the upper and upper middle classers and figure out which ones are being cool and follow their example, and which ones are being pretentious and don't act like them.

 

Humility is AWESOME!

 

 

 

post #298 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by CatsCradle View Post


I think part of the "forcing it down our throats" in education is that someone, somewhere, has determined that it is culturally relevant.  I can understand that to an extent, but at the same time, I think the forcing of cultural stuff has been a very recent thing (give or take a 1000 years or so).  Somewhere along the way, someone or some body of individuals determined that certain works were/are worthy of our attention.  I don't know, I think it is our attachment to history.  I see the same thing in the way that people scrapbook now...there is some human compulsion to hang onto history...to make it special...to highly edit for personal comfort.  

 

Not that anyone noticed, but my member name "CatsCradle" is the title of a Kurt Vonnegut Jr. book, my favorite book in all of human history.  He's a 20th century writer and is crass and prone to gallow humour, but he best defines how I feel about life.  I love that guy.  I would have asked him to marry me if he had been my contemporary.  I care a lot about modern fiction because it speaks to me and in my language and circumstance.  My DH is a Phillip K. Dick fan but I haven't read any of his books...just love the adapted films.  I think, Storm Bride, you are right in that the themes of the so-called important books are in our collective brains, and I don't think it is important to actually tediously read this stuff to understand the morality and drama behind those stories.  Perhaps it is helpful to acknowledge them and know their place, but why torture yourself?  I think we tend to adequately educate ourselves through our own interests and things that excite us.  

 



OT I have actually wondered if you user name was a Vonnegut reference.  DH and I had read several of the same Vonnegut books before we met and many of our early "courting" conversations were about his books.

 

post #299 of 345

Interesting thread.

 

We probably won't be working on the wine pairings.

 

As for being able to read menus in other languages...not really important to me. I know enough of one language to make a stab at guessing what might be on a menu in another language.  Same will probably be true for at least one of my kids.

 

It really isn't an issue that has come up very much in everyday life though.

post #300 of 345

My thoughts on this is if you want your child to fit in well in your social class, they will pick up most of what they will need to know if you provide proximity to others in this class in school and extracurricular activities.

 

Live in the neighborhood of the social class you are part of and send the kids to the schools in the area and you will quickly learn which are the preferred sports, music lessons, clubs, and general interests of your local kids and their families. You will also learn which are the preferred brands and styles for everything from clothing, accessories, and toys. Plan for college, not just for learning, but also for networking.

 

It is kind of funny, but it brings to mind the "Grover" episode of Portlandia. The parents made a pictorial chart titled "A FUTURE OF SUCCESS". The first step was getting 4 y/o Grover into "Shooting Star Preschool" so he could get into the right schools (shows a diploma) and an Ivy League University and make plenty of money (shows a safe) and buy a ferrari. The ferrari was the final and highest point on the chart.

 

This is in contrast to the chart "A FUTURE OF FAILURE" which shows the first step as "Public School" which is populated by a bunch of riff raff leading to educational failure (shows a broken pencil) and community college, guns, drugs, and the final step is a shopping cart, which one would presumably have once homeless. You would have to shoot squirrels and birds for dinner.

 

Of course it is meant as parody, but parts of the charts ring a little true. smile.gif

 

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