My college education is the best gift anyone has ever given me. My parents saved the money to send my brother and me to college since the day we were born. My parents planned every second of their financial lives to give my brother and me an outrageously generous opportunity. I get how people can throw tons of hate on me for that, especially as more and more students graduate from college with debilitating debt.
But here’s what my parents didn’t do. They never taught us to believe that they wanted us to go to college because we deserved it. They taught us to believe that they wanted us to go to college because everyone deserved it. It drove me to want to give that opportunity, in whatever way I could, to other people, which is the main reason I spent two years working as an AmeriCorps member with a pre-college program.
Seeing someone sacrifice like that for you builds a pretty strong bond and some pretty significant respect. It made me trust them completely and helped build a parental relationship that I would never trade with anyone. They made sure we understood what our privilege meant, and that many people didn’t have it, which I’ve grown up to realize is a much rarer lesson than it should be. My parents never taught us to expect anything in return for our education. They emphasized that if we wasted our opportunities, if we took advantage of what we had, it was on us. They made us feel a sense of obligation to deserve the opportunity they’d given us - not the other way around.
I’m sure there are kids whose parents have paid for their educations who are straight up ungrateful pieces of shit. I’m sure there are kids who expect that because of the opportunity their parents gave them, they’ll shit rainbows their whole life. But I’m not those people.