How do you avoid imparting your child with a sense of entitlement?
Life is not always fair. No one owes you anything. Goals can only be attained through hard work. The biography of John D. Rockefeller, Sr., Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller,Sr. by Ron Chernow, is highly instructive in this regard.
We quote as follows:
Convinced that struggle was the crucible of character, Rockefeller faced a delicate task in raising his children. He wanted to accumulate wealth while inculcating in them the values of his threadbare boyhood. The first step in saving them from extravagance was keeping them ignorant of their father’s affluence…At home, Rockefeller created a make-believe market economy, calling Cettie the “general manager” and requiring the children to keep careful account books. They earned pocket money by performing chores and received two cents for killing flies, ten cents for sharpening pencils, five cents per hour for practicing their musical instruments, and a dollar for repairing vases.
They were given two cents per day for abstaining from candy and a dime bonus for each consecutive day of abstinence. Each toiled in a separate patch of the vegetable garden, earning a penny for every ten weeds they pulled up. John Jr. got fifteen cents an hour for chopping wood and ten cents per day for superintending paths.
Rockefeller took pride in training his children as miniature household workers. Years later, riding on a train with his thirteen-year-old daughter, he told a traveling companion, “This little girl is earning money already. You never could imagine how she does it. I have learned what my gas bills should average when they are managed with care, and I have told her that she can have for pin money all that she will save every month on this amount, so she goes around every night and keeps the gas turned down where it is not needed.”
Rockefeller never tired of preaching economy and whenever a package arrived at home, he made a point of saving the paper and string.
This tradition carried on to the next generation. When John D. Rockefeller, Jr.’s family went on a trip, each child had a job and a salary. Each child was given an allowance, and the notebooks that recorded how that money was spent were closely scrutinized. The Rockefeller children carried baggage, cleaned shoes, cleaned their clothes, swatted flies, weeded gardens, and raised rabbits for sale to a laboratory. When Nelson and Laurance spent a summer in the northern forests, and the cook became ill, the two boys were able to take over the job and do it better.
The five sons of John D., Jr. were exceptional achievers. David was an internationally-renowned banker, philanthropist, and world statesman. John D., III was a major philanthropist. Laurance was a significant venture capitalist and conservationist. Nelson and Winthrop became state governors, with Nelson eventually becoming Vice President of the United States.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA