or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Upper & Upper Middle-Class Parents - Essential Knowledge?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Upper & Upper Middle-Class Parents - Essential Knowledge? - Page 16

post #301 of 345

La Limena..I think that is a very good answer.

post #302 of 345

 

It is a good answer to the OP's question, but the life it sketches out seems really depressing to me. I don't want to live where everybody else lives and do what everybody else does. 

post #303 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama Metis View Post

If there is one skill a rich kid needs, it is how to never talk about class openly. Don't even acknowledge that it exists! Only when absolutely pressed, one might use euphemisms like "high net worth."

 

;)


Yep, I'd agree with that.  I'm not sure if that is how the wealthier operate today though.

 

post #304 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coral123 View Post


Yep, I'd agree with that.  I'm not sure if that is how the wealthier operate today though.

 



The nouveau riche are so gauche. biglaugh.gif

 

post #305 of 345

I wanted to say to everyone who commented on this thread that I am doing research on cultural competence between the classes (which are stratified by income in the US). I came across this thread and was saddened to see that only one of you really understood the significance of being diversely culturally competent and the rest of you in your own little ways flamed that person. There is a book called "Unequal Childhoods" that you should try to read. Its simple message is that unless a child is taught to live in a particular society he will rarely ever achieve success outside of his class. Parents teach what they know. The cycle is perpetuated with little intervention. The intervention that occurs through public schools and church is limited by the parents ability to maneuver and participate in the social structure of the educational system. In other words, parents of working class teach their children that family values are most important and that working yourself to death is the only way to keep family together, parents living in poverty (with no upper level experience) teach their children how to survive in poverty and not how to survive with wealth. For example: a child from a poverty stricken family will know how to get aid from shelters, church rummage sales and other community resources but someone from working class or middle class will not know how to survive there. None of us if we have never experienced extreme wealth and the lifestyle that goes with it will be culturally competent and therefore cannot teach our children to be successfully competent in a wealthy situation. Reversely, a wealthy child, who is not taught to live in poverty will not survive in poverty. Think of Paris Hilton's "Simple Life". She wasn't able to be competent in living that way but her public encounter showed she was very competent in disgracing, demeaning other people and their ways. This is taught. I hope that you get the point that finding ways to teach your children to be culturally competent is important, whether you think its "fitting in" or just teaching success. In order to teach them, you have to learn also. Our educational system isn't set up for this. Most children in poverty will attend only a public education and will not have the opportunity to attend private schools where other cultural competence is expected. I hope that you can see where there are mechanism in our US system that keeps poor people poor, rich people rich, and the rest of us sliding down the slope to poverty.-Dona

post #306 of 345

The points you make about moving between classes are good ones, Dona, but the OP's superficial example of wine tasting kind of threw the conversation off I think.  Generally, the differences between the classes is more significantly different than that.  A wealthy or upper middle class child is taught how to relate to people differently, to advocate for themselves with professionals such as doctors, and to expect a certain standard of living among other things.  Good table manners and knowing how to judge your audience etc.  are important lessons for everyone, but things like skiing and horseback riding aren't going to get you ahead.  Having a role model to follow, seeing that education is critically important, understanding the system and how it works are all things that richer kids get regular exposure to that less wealthy kids might have less exposure to.   Thinking it's about the trappings that money brings is a classic error that lower classes make when evaluating the differences between them and higher classes.

post #307 of 345

Yes, there are different ways to parent based on income. Please check out some good reading called Unequal Childhoods. It addresses that very thing. I don't think anyone here was being mean, just explaining the world as they see it from their particular place on the planet. BTW: gov cheese and commodities IS a handout. Those millionaire grandparents didn't do much to increase your cultural competence either.  

post #308 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dona Barry View Post

There is a book called "Unequal Childhoods" that you should try to read. Its simple message is that unless a child is taught to live in a particular society he will rarely ever achieve success outside of his class

 

 

Yet this thread is full of experiences from those of us who have been in different classes as different points in out lives. How... interesting ... that you feel we should discount our own experiences in favor of what you read in a book.

 

 I hope that you can see where there are mechanism in our US system that keeps poor people poor, rich people rich, and the rest of us sliding down the slope to poverty.

 

 

 

But that's not what the OP was talking about. She HAS changed class -- at least economically. And she wants to make sure she provides the extra sort of information that usually goes along with that income to her children.

 

The whole question disproves your point. (As well as the number of people I know who are doing better than their parents did).

 

Also,  OPer also wasn't asking about the wealthy. 100K a year for a family of 4 isn't wealthy. Not by a long shot. It's middle class, it's just the more comfortable end of middle class.
 

 

post #309 of 345

As long as we're recommending books, I would recommend Pierre Bourdieu's "Distinction". Although its basis is a study of class and culture from ethnography done in France in the 60s, the theory about cultural capital, and how different classes and cultures within a society view what is appropriate for their eating, drinking, listening, viewing, reading, etc. is still useful.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Distinction

http://www.amazon.com/Distinction-Social-Critique-Judgement-Taste/dp/0674212770

 

It is kind of dry, and a bit repetetive but I found it intriguing.

 

So, perhaps the OP is trying to figure out what sort of cultural capital is important and necessary for her kids, since she does not view the cultrural capital that she already has is adequate or the right type?

 

My kids lack cultural capital in terms of knowing US sports teams. It's not something that comes up here very much, but I know that it may be likely if my son lives in the USA when he grows up, that he will need to develop cultural competence in knowing about and having opinions abouy US grid-iron football teams and basketball teams and probably ice hockey and baseball teams as well. If not, I suspect he may sometimes lack small-talk among men in the US of many classes.

 

In my kids' high school, knowledge about rugby teams and who you favor is important cultural data. This would be less important in other milieus where (for example) knowledge and skill in Mahjong or Big-2 (a card game) would be very important, much more so than poker or bridge. In fact, it my kids' high school, knowledge of Rugby and Big-2 can widen a social circle. 

 

 

 

 

post #310 of 345


I disagree with this statement.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dona Barry View Post

 I hope that you can see where there are mechanism in our US system that keeps poor people poor, rich people rich, and the rest of us sliding down the slope to poverty.-Dona


 

Poverty in my county in the "US System" -- which is not a particularly great or well run county -- means you have air conditioning, hot and cold running water, basic medical care, one bedroom for every 2 kids, a transport pass that will take you all over the city, a bus that picks up your kids near their door and drives them to school to eat breakfast and lunch that you don't have to pack, and so much food that obesity is a notable problem in your social class.  You have multiple pairs of shoes and access to a washer for your clothes.  You probably use a dryer.  You watch TV and DVDs. 

 

I'll admit that the lifestyle of "poverty" in the US is so completely adequate for a lot of people's needs that there's not a huge incentive to climb out if your personality does not worry about the benefits that being middle class does offer.  It's a tiny part of life's needs that aren't covered by the US version of "poverty."  When everything is good, everything is good.  But when your child gets a complicated illness, or a family member gets arrested and needs a good lawyer, or your adult brother needs to go into addiction treatment ... this is when the extra hustling to stay middle class pays off.

 

Compared to the 70s when I was growing up, most people in my extended family on both sides (in-laws included) are either living much larger than they were then -- or they were already living an upper middle lifestyle.  But a lot of us weren't then, and are now. 

post #311 of 345

You can make six figures without being exposed to wines. Lol. DH makes six in a blue collar job where a lot of his coworkers still like beer and strip clubs. Thank goodness he's not like that. :)

 

Nothing in particular matters except to experience life wholeheartedly, with an open mind, and learn all you can. That's it. No class-handbook needed.

post #312 of 345


Haha! That's great. I believe it. The other big topic you can ALWAYS count on to make you friends? The OTHER person. Develop a genuine interest in the other person, ask them questions about themselves and let them ramble on about their favorite subject (themselves!). You will never be a fish out of water with THAT trick up your sleeve. ;)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post

 

 

Because of my DH's job, he deals with people who are wealthy and upper middle class. You know wanna know what is really important for him to be able to talk about????  The big mystery subject......

 

 

sports

 

 

 

post #313 of 345

F Scott Fitzgerald wrote, "the rich are are different than you and I."

 

Hemingway wrote, "yes, they have more money."

 

I think these days that could be changed to "yes, they get better seats at the game."

 

 

Today we were at a BBQ where the guest of honor was a self made millionaire. Guess what he wanted to talk about ---

 

he asked my teenagers what the big deal is about Hunger Games, why teens like it. He later told me that he liked their answers and they were sharp. And that I should enjoy every day of the next couple of years, because he feels like he blinked at the teen years were over and his kids were suddenly in their 30s.

 

So I thought I would pass it along, my parenting advice from a millionaire: Enjoy your kids thumb.gif

 

He also really liked the bottle of local wine I brought along. (Or at least he was polite enough to say he did!)

post #314 of 345

So...I'm not really here much, anymore (as my health is improving, I'm cutting way back on my computer time), but this thread caught my eye again. And, a few posts (Rona Barry's, especially) rubbed me the wrong way. I'm not sure people mean it this way (I'm not sure they don't, either), but there's an underlying vibe in some of these posts that comes across in a very "success = money" kind of way. I think it's a sickness that infects people - and cultues - very easily, but I don't see success as being about how much money someone has, and it really gets to me that this sentiment is so common.

 

Cultural competence? Sure - we should teach it to our children, to as great an extent as we can. But, if one isn't culturally competent in the things one needs to know to function at a certain "level", then one can't teach one's children to be culturally competent at that level. I teach my kids as many things as I can think of to teach them. In ds1's case, I'm realizing that I missed a few things...but that's largely because of his personality. He's missing some basic life skills (esp. as regards paperwork), partly because he's always been really slippery about learning them.  He's not interested, and his focus has always been elsewhere. However, he's managed cultural competence in areas I never taught him, because those areas do interest him, and they became relevant when he started associating with kids from homes where different competencies were/are valued. I have little need to master the cultural competencies of the upper class, because I have no interest in joining the upper class. If I'm ever forced there (by dh's income, for instance), then I'll learn to manage, but it's not something that I want to do, in any way.

 

I also can't pretend to care about sports - any sports. So, if that becomes a necessity, I'll cultivate silence. I want to be around people who are interested in things that are interesting to me, not spend my time learning to fake it, so as to acquire "cultural competence". If cultural competence requires me to fake it all the time, then it's not a culture I want to be competent in, yk?

 

Anyway - it's all been an interesting conversation, for sure.

post #315 of 345


 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post

 

I also can't pretend to care about sports - any sports. So, if that becomes a necessity, I'll cultivate silence. I want to be around people who are interested in things that are interesting to me, not spend my time learning to fake it, so as to acquire "cultural competence". If cultural competence requires me to fake it all the time, then it's not a culture I want to be competent in, yk?


I think there is a difference between being able to carry on conversations with a wide variety of people and faking things.

 

Some situations are more fun and I feel more comfortable because the other people are what I am interested in. My book club for example.

 

In other situations, I'm around people that I don't have that much in common with on a core level, but I can carry on a conversation about things that other person cares about. I'm not faking anything if I ask someone if they are into the Final 4, if they have a team that is doing well. I'm just making conversation.

 

Conversing with people about things they are interested is a bit like playing a friendly game of badminton -- the goal is to keep the shuttle in the air -- to hit it in such a way they can return it.

 

To insist that everyone I ever speak to only speak to me about things I am interested in, never about things they are interested seems very limiting.  If one starts with the premise that every person is worthy of respect that whatever they are interested in is fine, conversing becomes an art. How to draw out the other person, how to make them comfortable.

post #316 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post


 


I think there is a difference between being able to carry on conversations with a wide variety of people and faking things.

 

Some situations are more fun and I feel more comfortable because the other people are what I am interested in. My book club for example.

 

In other situations, I'm around people that I don't have that much in common with on a core level, but I can carry on a conversation about things that other person cares about. I'm not faking anything if I ask someone if they are into the Final 4, if they have a team that is doing well. I'm just making conversation.

 

Conversing with people about things they are interested is a bit like playing a friendly game of badminton -- the goal is to keep the shuttle in the air -- to hit it in such a way they can return it.

 

To insist that everyone I ever speak to only speak to me about things I am interested in, never about things they are interested seems very limiting.  If one starts with the premise that every person is worthy of respect that whatever they are interested in is fine, conversing becomes an art. How to draw out the other person, how to make them comfortable.


I know nothing about sports. I don't want to know anything about sports. I have no idea what the Final 4 is, and I don't care. I, in fact, hate sports with a passion, and there actually is no way for me to talk about them without being a fake. I can manage to draw someone out about things that I'm not terribly interested in (although if they keep talking about it, the conversation is eventually going to bore me to tears), but drawing someone out about sports would be about like volunteering for a root canal on a healthy tooth. If someone is so interested in sports that I can't find anything else to talk to them about, then we have absolutely no common ground, and having a conversation is pointless, anyway. That doesn't mean they're not worthy of respect. It means we have nothing to talk about. I can also assure you that none of the people I've met who believe that I should learn to talk about what other people are interested in (usually sports or some form of the arts) ever think those people should be able to carry on a conversation about my interests, because my interests are "weird", and...not deserving of respect.

 

However, I also structure my life to avoid small talk to as great an extent as humanly possible. It's one of the many reasons I have no interest in moving "up" the class ladder. Being stuck in social situations with people I don't know and have nothing in common with is a nightmare, and I don't want to be in a class where it's considered necessary.

 

post #317 of 345


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post


I know nothing about sports. I don't want to know anything about sports. I have no idea what the Final 4 is, and I don't care. I, in fact, hate sports with a passion, and there actually is no way for me to talk about them without being a fake. I can manage to draw someone out about things that I'm not terribly interested in (although if they keep talking about it, the conversation is eventually going to bore me to tears), but drawing someone out about sports would be about like volunteering for a root canal on a healthy tooth.

 



Ah but you know enough about sports to know that the Final Four is a sporting event!

 

Personally, I think that talking about sports is really useful in the corporate world. There are lots of other areas where it's not so important. Talking sports in an English department at a university? Probably only going to engage about 1/3 of the people around you. It's not "essential" knowledge unless you really want to move up in the corporate world. I have not interest in the corporate world, but I do have a mild interest in sports. I like baseball. Dh loves soccer and so I like that too. Ds will watch any sport on (as dh put it "if there were season tickets to dog sled racing, he'd go!). I'm actually really fond of curling, but never get to see it anymore. When we lived in Buffalo, it was on Canadian TV regularly. But curling isn't going to win me a lot of popularity contests anywhere, even in Canada!

post #318 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post


 



Ah but you know enough about sports to know that the Final Four is a sporting event!

 

Personally, I think that talking about sports is really useful in the corporate world. There are lots of other areas where it's not so important. Talking sports in an English department at a university? Probably only going to engage about 1/3 of the people around you. It's not "essential" knowledge unless you really want to move up in the corporate world. I have not interest in the corporate world, but I do have a mild interest in sports. I like baseball. Dh loves soccer and so I like that too. Ds will watch any sport on (as dh put it "if there were season tickets to dog sled racing, he'd go!). I'm actually really fond of curling, but never get to see it anymore. When we lived in Buffalo, it was on Canadian TV regularly. But curling isn't going to win me a lot of popularity contests anywhere, even in Canada!

I work in the legal field, and knowledge of sports is really hit and miss.  The legal industry is full of weirdos, outsiders, insiders, schmoozers, genuinely intellectual types, as well as run-of-the-mill  people who just happen to be lawyers, paralegals, etc.  I would say about 10% of the people in my firm (which comprises about 125 lawyers in my office) are really interested in sports.  Everyone else is a bit too busy with family stuff, personal interests or are just plain workaholics.  Funny, the people who are  most interested in sports are the 20-something guys who are still following college football and stuff like that.  Everyone else grows interested at Super Bowel time if, and only if, the local team is playing.  Honestly, it is not on the radar of a lot people my field in my area.

 

Now, that being said, I grew up in a  college town where sports ruled supreme.  Sports were the life and breath of that town.  People burned (and I think still do) couches in the streets when they won or lost to the rivals and team spirit permeated everything.  It was a small university town and sports were that town's identity.  I moved to a similar town in the north where there were two professional teams (football and baseball) and sports were also the identity of that town.  Sports are talked about in my current city, but it is lower down on the totem poll of subjects.  I'm happily ignorant of all things sports (except for things that truly interest me like marathon runners) and I've managed quite well in conversations.  I would say that the art of listening is more important in some instances than the knowledge of any particular subject and being able to talk about it.  In my line of work, there's nothing wrong with admitting you don't know the subject and asking people to elaborate.  In fact, I think other people like to educate others on certain subjects, especially if they feel they are experts.  I have to deal with a lot of small talk in my daily work and you just learn to roll.  It doesn't necessarily come naturally to me, but I have to do it in my line of work.  I've found a lot of genuine and interesting people, even if their interests don't necessarily interest me.
 

 

post #319 of 345
Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

Ah but you know enough about sports to know that the Final Four is a sporting event!

 

Not really. I guessed it was from the context in which Linda on the Move used it in the post that I was replying to.

 

Personally, I think that talking about sports is really useful in the corporate world.

 

LOL. It probably is. There isn't enough money - or anything else - in the world to make me dip my feet into the corporate world any deeper than I already have (some temp work, and a couple of jobs at small branch offices). Sports aren't the reason, but that's just one more reason for me to avoid the corporate world.

 

There are lots of other areas where it's not so important. Talking sports in an English department at a university? Probably only going to engage about 1/3 of the people around you. It's not "essential" knowledge unless you really want to move up in the corporate world. I have not interest in the corporate world, but I do have a mild interest in sports. I like baseball. Dh loves soccer and so I like that too. Ds will watch any sport on (as dh put it "if there were season tickets to dog sled racing, he'd go!). I'm actually really fond of curling, but never get to see it anymore. When we lived in Buffalo, it was on Canadian TV regularly. But curling isn't going to win me a lot of popularity contests anywhere, even in Canada!

 

I know a very little about curling, but only because my ex-boss (my first real boss, and my one actual mentor in the work world - I worked for her for eight years, and loved every minute of it) was on a curling team. She didn't talk about it a lot, because she knew I wasn't into it, but she did talk a little, especially when she had tournaments to attend and things like that. So, at one time, I knew a little bit about curling. I've picked up very minimal knowledge of hockey, baseball, softball (although I don't know the differences between baseball and softball, except for the ball itself - are there any?) and basketball, just from television, books, movies, etc. (and being forced to play them in high school). I know almost nothing about football, except the names of some of the positions and what touchdowns and field goals are. Football gives me a headache. I know nothing about soccer, except what the ball looks like, and that there's a goalie involved (no idea how many players are on the field, even), and you're not supposed to touch the ball with your hands (I think?). None of that stuff is even on my radar, and sports barely exist in my world, except as a waste of space in my daily paper.

I'm glad to hear your opinion about sports and the corporate world, though. I'm about equally uninterested in having anything to do with one as the other.



 

post #320 of 345

I agree that money shouldn't be synonymous with success - but it is for a lot of people (or, at least, it's a major factor in defining success).  Alot of people also get their jollies from "who they know" and how quickly they can reach people in high places.  Personally, having enough money that I can stay home with my son is important to me - having enough that I can be flashy with my material possessions is not (though not all people with money are...not by a long shot).  Any number of things (including being raised in meager circumstances without enough food, clothing, etc.) can drive people to include money in this definition.  It's certainly not my position to judge others for their own definition just because it's not ascetic enough, any more than I would want to be judged for mine.

 

I think talking about sports and other things that are helpful in the corporate world/upper class are easily taught to your children as tools in their toolbox, depending on the social situation they are in.  They may or may not need them, and they may grow up to move in those worlds or not, whether by their own choice or not.  But it can't hurt to teach them.  Not to mention, many general social graces have been discussed here, which are helpful to all.

 

Your child may want to go to an Ivy League school and be a real mover and shaker in the business world - or they might run from that environment.  Still, even if your child grows up to be a starving artist, she may end up needing to sell herself to galleries, art dealers and potential buyers.  I don't think this thread needs to be about making a value judgment on certain circles of society. You never know whom you might need to associate with, or what circles your children may end up in while trying to achieve their dreams - and I think that's something this thread has presented very well.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Parenting
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Upper & Upper Middle-Class Parents - Essential Knowledge?