Upper & Upper Middle-Class Parents - Essential Knowledge? - Page 12 - Mothering Forums

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#331 of 345 Old 04-02-2012, 04:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by pickle18 View Post

Storm Bride - I don't blame you - sports are not my thing at all!  I guess I wasn't necessarily thinking you could teach your kid the ins and outs of football so much as, let them know that these things are helpful to learn for conversation, and support their interest in learning it or participating in it if they have one.  It doesn't necessarily have to come directly from you - give them access to books, clubs, teams or other opportunities.  If everything I could teach DS was limited by what I'm good at, enjoy, or thoroughly understand - well, that may be a tiny world indeed! smile.gif

 

 



Somehow, I missed this post until now.

 

DS2 already knows more about soccer and hockey (the important one around here) than I do, because his friends talk about it. He talks sports with them a little bit, as well. I think some people figure these things out on their own, and some people don't. DS1 has always known what he needs to know to converse with his friends (higher class than we are - and you can take that pretty much any way you want to). I went to the same school, 25 years earlier than ds1 did, when there was a similar split in "class". Like ds1, I was on the low end. I never figured out what to talk about or how to fit. Partly, I think I just didn't care enough, to be honest. I still don't. If I have to talk sports to get along with someone, we're not going to mesh, anyway.


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#332 of 345 Old 04-02-2012, 04:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by AbbyGrant View Post

 
Also, low six-figures in a moderate COL area is not what I consider "upper class" or wealthy anyway, although it's certainly a good living.

 



After dh's most recent raise, we're getting very close to the six figure barrier. It's not a bad living (and I know several of my neighbours make it work on less), but it's far from "upper class" or wealthy. We live in the cheapest rental accommodation available in our municipality. There is no possibility of buying property - not even a one bedroom apartment to rent out. We take fairly minimalist vacations (our most extravagant, by far, was a trip to Disney World, which was a Christmas gift from my in-laws). We order in an occasional pizza, but very rarely dine out, anywhere. I haven't bought new shoes in almost four years (admittedly, that's only partially financial - it's mostly because it's very hard to find shoes that fit my 7EEEE feet - well, they're honestly more like a 6.5EEEEE). Our retirement savings are about a quarter of what we'd like them to be. We're using a dining suite that I got secondhand over 20 years ago...and it's seen better days. We live larger than my family of origin ever did...but we're definitely not wealthy...and nobody would ever consider us to be upper class.

 

My kids do participate in a fair number of activities, but they're partially paid for through our homeschooling program. DS1 is almost entirely on his own for college tuition.


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#333 of 345 Old 04-03-2012, 02:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by AbbyGrant View Post

      Quote:

 

It doesn't make me uncomfortable to acknowledge that different groups have different cultural norms. But cultural norms are complex and based on more than simply income, so it doesn't make much sense to me to ask about the norms for certain income brackets. I don't think there's a specific set that apply to those that earn in the low six figures. That seems like a very arbitrary distinction to me. I think that's why it's been difficult to get a consensus on the answer to the OP's question even after seventeen pages. It doesn't appear there's much "class related" knowledge for that income bracket.  
 
-----
  

I'm not quite sure I understand what the author of that book is trying to get at. I mean I do think I know that sub-culture winky.gif, but it has to do with a lot more than income. I know a lot of non-upper class people who fit that description and some high income earners who are much happier with Bud rather than microbrews, who prefer the regular grocery store or Costco over Whole Foods, and who think green products are weird and/or inferior.  

 

 

Yes. 100k buys a different lifestyle depending on where you live. So it isn't really a useful cut-off.

 

The author is talking about the "new" upper class, which some people also call the "creative class".  I also know people who are in this sub-culture and don't have a high income. And my mom and step-dad are very "mainstream".  What he was getting at was that he felt that people living in this subculture (which largely does consist of highly educated individuals who have a disproportionate influence on how our society is going to evolve) and their children - are becoming increasingly out of touch with what the rest of America lives like. He shows how the wealthier people all live in the same zip codes... like they are segregating themselves. He argues that back the 60's (for instance), the difference between being rich and being poor was not that big of a cultural difference. Everyone still ate the same foods, still entertained in similar ways, and watched the same shows and movies. Rich people just lived in houses valued at double the average joe's house and dined using more expensive china.

 

Then the book takes a turn and becomes...worse / bizarre / rambling / controversial / interesting...

He talks about how, in lower income communities, the rates of births to unwed mothers have skyrocketed and it has become an accepted way to have kids. But that we know there are poor outcomes when children are raised in single parent households. Then he shows that, in the new upper class, people are still getting married before having kids. He talks about other things like work ethic, having a sense of community and trusting other people, and religion (*wince*) and how those have also eroded in lower income communities. He thinks the culture of political correctness and the idea that "all ways are of equal value" is causing our society to go down hill. He thinks the people with the power in our society right now should actually preach what they are practicing.

 

That, by the way, isn't my opinion... I don't even know if I agree with any of his arguments. Many of you may be offended just reading my synopsis... but don't shoot the messenger, please! ;) It was an intriguing book that poked at many of the things we're either uncomfortable with or with certain cultural norms we don't agree exist.

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#334 of 345 Old 11-06-2012, 10:22 AM
 
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I can't believe people actually talk in terms of class... that seems a tad crude.  Why wouldn't it be framed in terms of "what I'd like my kids to know"... you'd like them to be comfortable ordering in Italian. Ok. You'd like them to be able to hold their own on the golf course as a lot of business transactions take place there.  Sure thing.  But why oh why would you presume to make this about class?  It is about life skills that you would like to prioritize.  I would think nearly anyone who has a yearning to impart certain knowledge to their kids can accomplish that despite their income level? 

 

I would like to ensure my kids understand that people are people no matter what kind of house they live in or brand of car they drive.  I've met fascinating people in ALL socio-economic brackets.  Shouldn't we be teaching kids to look at a person's soul?

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#335 of 345 Old 11-06-2012, 10:35 AM
 
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This thread is old it was talked about a lot in a very heated way, if you would like you can read over the many many pages where folks explain their feelings. They certainly have a right to them. Mostly it was about semantics and helped us understand a lot of sensitivities on both sides I think some folks had not thought of. I would encourage you to read the whole thread before responding if you haven't already. If I remember correctly some responses were so much an attack feeling the the lady who started it never came back, no one really deserved that.

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#336 of 345 Old 11-06-2012, 01:59 PM
 
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I also encourage reading the entire thread before responding.

 

I actually enjoyed this thread, but I don't have any desire to rehash the exact same things that have been said.

 

<<Why wouldn't it be framed in terms of "what I'd like my kids to know"...>>

 

The reason this wouldn't work is that the OPer was trying to figure out what those things were for a specific income bracket. She didn't know what the things were, so your solution wouldn't work for her.

I don't know how to phrase the question so that it wouldn't step on toes.
 


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#337 of 345 Old 11-06-2012, 05:08 PM
 
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As far as teaching your kids to talk about sports, I think it would be more just teaching them that if they don't know much/anything about the subject, they get a lot further by not being rude about it or saying they hate it. Kind of a social nicety thing. Not like you have to sit by for hours while people talk about it, but being able to listen to the conversation for a bit isn't bad. And also, if they understand a bit but something comes up that they're confused by, they can potentially ask, because people like explaining things they are interested in. (On the other hand, this may vary for guys. My experience as an adult woman becoming more interested in football has been that guys are more than eager to answer any questions I have, but a boy or man who asked some of the questions I've asked might just get made fun of.)

 

I had a preceptor once in school who told me that I shouldn't tell people I've just met that I don't like the local team, because it doesn't accomplish anything at all in the conversation--it just shuts down conversation and potentially antagonizes people. I think he had a point. This is a huge football town, but now when it comes up I just say that I don't really follow the team and leave out the part where they annoy me and I'm glad when they lose. 

 

So it seems to me that it is less about the specific topic and more about learning to engage with others on a subject you're not terribly interested in. And generally telling people you've just met that you hate something they're a big fan of doesn't win you any friends. 

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#338 of 345 Old 11-07-2012, 06:00 AM
 
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What I do find interesting is how some of the material signifers of class have gone the way of the dodo --

 

For my mom's generation -- there were certain items that a home had to show that it was middle class.  In her childhood and in her area, a middle class home had a piano and an encyclopedia, a radio and maybe a TV.

 

Right now, I can't think of anything specific that a home "has to have" to make it middle class or upper middle class. 

 

Our nanny has a nicer car and i-phone than I do.  Our friends who are scraping by have flat-screen TVs.  Middle class and upper middle class friends who have married recently haven't registered for sterling silverware or fine china.  Does anyone (with the exception of the very upper class or maybe in the South which has always been more traditional) even have (uninherited) fine china anymore?


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#339 of 345 Old 11-07-2012, 11:55 AM
 
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do carpets count? how about a china vase?

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#340 of 345 Old 11-07-2012, 12:14 PM
 
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Oh wow...I remember this thread....hide.gif


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#341 of 345 Old 11-07-2012, 02:20 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erigeron View Post

As far as teaching your kids to talk about sports, I think it would be more just teaching them that if they don't know much/anything about the subject, they get a lot further by not being rude about it or saying they hate it. Kind of a social nicety thing. Not like you have to sit by for hours while people talk about it, but being able to listen to the conversation for a bit isn't bad. And also, if they understand a bit but something comes up that they're confused by, they can potentially ask, because people like explaining things they are interested in. (On the other hand, this may vary for guys. My experience as an adult woman becoming more interested in football has been that guys are more than eager to answer any questions I have, but a boy or man who asked some of the questions I've asked might just get made fun of.)

 

I think in the context of the OPers question, being able to carry on a basic conversation about the major sports is just part of it, if you are male or female, esp. if you are a female who wants to be "one of the guys" in a business meeting.

 

No one can know everything about every team for every sport, and asking questions IS polite. My DH's current projects have him spending a lot of time in Canada, so he is very up on Canada hockey right now. This certainly isn't something he grew up with, and he has learned a lot by asking questions and being truly interested.

 

And it does help in difficult business situations.

 

And the women who make it in his field can drink beer and talk about sports. It's cultural literacy. This is what culture is now.

 

And my point when I brought up sports was that if you are wanting to help your kids be socially and professional successful, teaching them to carry on polite conversations about things like sports is one of the things you could do.

 

But I agree that being able to engage a wide variety of people on a wide variety of subjects is really key -- my DH's boss, who has about about 2,000 people under him, can carry on a conversation with ANYONE and make them feel like they are the most interesting person to talk to. He can even do this with my DD who has autism, and he is one of the few people who can. He is also amazing at his job and consistently works 80 hours a week, but his strong social skills have been a tremendous asset to his career. If he were just as smart and hardworking without the social no-how, he would be a project lead making a fraction of the money. 

 

I'm still pondering the question of what upper middle/ upper class people own, and I really don't know. We are in that group, but got here by moving a lot for promotions. And we have cats. So the things we once had that were breakable are long gone. The families I know with more money are quicker to buy their kids the latest/greatest gadget, but plenty of people who are really tight for money seem to come up with the money for Kindle Fires/iPads/ etc.

 

(I know more people live like they have money than who actually have money)


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#342 of 345 Old 11-07-2012, 03:43 PM
 
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I've just gone back to school in a male dominated field (environmental engineering for the natural resource sector).  I really agree with the above about women typically male fields needing a comfort level with sports and traditionally "male" topics.  I'm grateful for having an involved father who always included me in what he found interesting. 

 

I think that even though the OP was specifically asking about skills specifically about the upper and upper-middle income class, more generally what this is really about are social skills and cultural literacy.  I think many of these skills are across social and economic barriers.  I've met many people who started I one social "class" and because of great people skills are able to be comfortable in settings outside of what they grew up with (despite what one PP said, I think lots of people can manage to adjust outside of their "class").  My little part of Nova Scotia has many examples of politicians and industry leaders with parents who grew up mining coal who are now having dinner with politicians or consulting with universities.  I think having a genuine interest in others and in learning more about the world outside one's own little corner counts for more than any specific skill or experience.
 


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#343 of 345 Old 11-07-2012, 08:24 PM
 
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I've just gone back to school in a male dominated field (environmental engineering for the natural resource sector).  I really agree with the above about women typically male fields needing a comfort level with sports and traditionally "male" topics.  I'm grateful for having an involved father who always included me in what he found interesting. 

 

I had an involved father who included me (us, really) in what he found interesting. That didn't include sports, though. When I was about...12?...my dad watched the World Series on tv, and I was in shock. To this day, I have no idea what prompted it, but he'd never watched any kind of game before that, and never watched another one again. My brother didn't watch sports (until recently - in the last few years, he and my sister have both become hockey nuts).


However, this is also one of the many reasons I didn't pursue a career in any male dominated fields. (I seriously considered engineering when I graduated from high school.) It's also one of the many reasons I won't work for large corporations. I go to work to get my job done, not to spend all my time talking about something as mind-numbing as sports (no insult to sports fans - I'm sure they'd find many of my interests to be mind-numbing, too). All the social crap that goes on in the workplace drives me insane. I so miss my first job, where it was about the job.

 

I think that even though the OP was specifically asking about skills specifically about the upper and upper-middle income class, more generally what this is really about are social skills and cultural literacy. 

 

I agree.

 

I think many of these skills are across social and economic barriers.  I've met many people who started I one social "class" and because of great people skills are able to be comfortable in settings outside of what they grew up with (despite what one PP said, I think lots of people can manage to adjust outside of their "class"). 

 

I agree with this, too.

 

DS1 flips between totally different social scenes (from my ex's family - alcoholics and drug addicts, for the most part, who are under or unemployed to his girlfriend's family - skiing at Whistler, and possibly a European cruise next summer - and everything in between). He has the knack. I didn't fit into my own social class as child, don't fit into my current socio-economic class (not really relevant, as dh doesn't socialize much), and will probably never fit into any class. I don't have the knack. I think dd1 has it, to a reasonable degree. DS2...probably not. It's hard to tell with dd2, because she's still little, but I think she's like ds1.
 


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#344 of 345 Old 11-08-2012, 02:23 AM
 
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Apologies, i actually didn't realize it WAS an old thread until after I replied. Wasn't looking to stir up an old pot, just felt compelled to reply to what felt to me to be an outrageous thread.
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I also encourage reading the entire thread before responding.

I read quite a bit and tried to take in as much as I could (17 pages y'all!) and it seemed most were fully indulging in the idea posed by the OP which got my blood pumping before I double checked the posting dates.
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#345 of 345 Old 11-08-2012, 11:04 AM
 
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I was talking to dh about this thread last night. He commented that he has to agree about sports, and that, in a work sense, it becomes more and more important the higher you climb. No wonder I always preferred to be a peon.

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