Often the topic of saving for our child's college education comes up in conversation (bizarre, I know, but it does- with complete strangers) here's the earth shattering news, hold your breath- it's coming- I'm not paying for my daughter's schooling, she's paying for that herself.
When this statement is made I'm received with the same shock I would have received had I declared I was shipping my 18 month old off to Siberia. The idea that a child should work for and hence value their education is foreign.
I find interesting the volumes of successful people that scrimped, saved and scratched their way to financial prosperity that turn around and deny their children of the same experiences. Out of love our children we want to give them everything, but in doing so we rob them of the some of the most valuable and rare lessons children can learn- how to work, how to save, how to decide that there is something you want and to go through physical pain and self denial to EARN it.
(Yes, this is me- I was indeed, a dancing banana)
I didn't sweat in a banana suit all summer so that I could turn around and not have my children work, I worked hard so I could have security and move towards my dream- a house on the beach. And hopefully, with the lessons my children learn by working, saving and sacrificing, they will be able to buy their own beach houses.
There's a level of self esteem that is achieved only through working and self-sacrifice, knowing that you can make it just fine on your own. If we don't teach that lesson to our kids prior to college, or in college- when are they going to learn it?
After getting over the initial shock that a middle class American family doesn't believe in saving for their kid's college we receive a 'Good For You!'. I have yet to hear a person speak to the benefits of parents picking up the full tab for their child's education. If you know of some- I'm open to them, but until I'm convinced- we're saving for a beach house.
(Disclaimer: If your parents paid for your education I do not think you're a spoiled brat that has no concept of work, some of us were not lucky enough to be born with the work gene, you were- congratulations. If you're successful at sports or academics this again obviously doesn't apply to you because if you were really good then you got a scholarship and if you weren't really good and just played for fun- well, you had your reward so then yes this does apply to you, you should have gotten a job and paid for your school because you were a b-rated athlete, come to think about it unless you're the best at athletics what's the point? People that train their lives and then don't make it to the Olympics- talk about an investment with no payout. Why don't they ever show THOSE stories during the Olympic games- the hundreds of people that gave it their best and it wasn't good enough so they had to go into medical equipment sales because that's the only place an ex-athlete can get a job, and their real dreams were never fulfilled and unlike the rest of us who sit back and think 'well I never gave it my all so maybe I could have achieved' these people actually gave it their all and failed, which must really suck, unless they found a new dream- that is the story I'd like to see during the Olympic games- people who wanted to be Olympic athletes, failed and then realized their true calling and joy through selling sports equipment or creating nonprofit children's camps, whichever . And if you never went to college, I don't think you're lazy either, more CEO's come from the school of hard knocks than Harvard so you're cool...you're cool)