Something to Work With

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“Oh Daddy, I felt so sorry for Annabel…”

Maria was on the phone. She was telling about one of her friends…and money worries…

“She was sitting on the couch. And all of a sudden she burst into tears. She was crying because she is out of money…

“Her car broke down and she doesn’t have the money to get it fixed. And she had to go and have some medical work done. She just doesn’t have any money left…

“And she’s already working all she possibly can. She works with me at the studio. And she picks up bartending jobs on the side. She works all day…and then works at night too. But I think it is getting to her. She just can’t go on…

“I asked her if her folks could help her out. But she said that her father lost his job in the recession…and they don’t have any money to lend her.

“Honestly, I felt so lucky to have you behind me. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have the family supporting me. I guess I just wouldn’t be able to keep going either. I’d have to give up the idea of being an actress because it’s almost impossible to support yourself and still go to all the castings and try-outs.”

Elizabeth added a comment:

“I was talking to [a French friend]. He thinks it is typically American to expect each generation to make it on its own. Americans think they should put aside enough money to pay their retirements, and that’s all. They don’t worry about their children. They think the children should take care of themselves. Anyway, that’s what he thinks Americans think…and he’s probably mostly right about it.

“The French attitude is much different. They keep the children closer…and help them more. He’s got five children and he wants to be able to leave them something. He’s just begun a new business venture, because he says he wasn’t able to earn enough in his job.

“He makes a good point: when you have to start from nothing, you just won’t get as far. You know, it’s a bit like what Newton said. He was able to make spectacular progress because, as he put it, he could ‘stand on the shoulders of giants.’ But that’s true for everything. One generation stands on the work of the one that came before it. And if there is nothing to stand on…they have to start from scratch. They are able to do more…if they have a firm foundation to stand on. And there are something things they couldn’t do at all without it. Maria, for example, would be forced to get a more serious job, if we weren’t helping her with her bills while she’s getting established. And Jules, too. He wants a career in music. But if he couldn’t count on us to help him, he’d probably have to do something that pays better now.

“There’s a lot to be said for the American can-do emphasis on self- reliance. But there’s something to be said for the French attitude too. The ideal is to give your children the spirit of self-reliance and the confidence that comes from making it on their own…but also to give them something to work with…so they don’t have to start at the very bottom.”

Until tomorrow,

Bill Bonner
for The Daily Reckoning Australia

Bill Bonner

Bill Bonner

Best-selling investment author Bill Bonner is the founder and president of Agora Publishing, one of the world's most successful consumer newsletter companies. Owner of both Fleet Street Publications and MoneyWeek magazine in the UK, he is also author of the free daily e-mail The Daily Reckoning.
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Comments

  1. yup. paris hilton is a paragon of that much vaunted self reliance amongst americans.
    american parents are pushing their children to fend for themselves because THEY ARE BROKE.dont pull nationalist claptrap into this.geez

    Reply
  2. Not just French, it’s also the Asian, Arabian, Indian way of life, and maybe even the Australian way of life. Guess who’s economies isn’t going under?

    First Home Buyer
    September 29, 2009
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  3. Now (since the Lehman bros collapse) is the time, like no other, to separate financial figures and statistics from real things, such as human factors, equipment, skills, crops and the rule of law. Forget tax breaks, leverage and imaginary financial instruments – go for real things that real people need. Go for family stability, friendship, etc, because when the money becomes a joke, that’s what’s of greatest value.

    Reply
  4. @ dyslexic : Ms Hilton is hardly a ‘typical American’ that we can judge the rest of the country’s upbringing against…you may as well use the Queen as an example of a ‘typical British’ upbringing. And Bill pointing out that people in other countries run their lives in different, and possibly superior, ways from Americans is hardly ‘nationalist claptrap’.

    What *is* nationalist claptrap is the idea that America is, as a country, broke. It has 5% of the world’s people, but sucks up 25% of the world’s resources (how evenly those resources are distributed is another matter). And don’t try and tell me that this is cos Yanks all work so hard – if hard work made you rich, plantation slaves would have been the richest people in the world. Being a cunning thief is what makes people – and the US – rich.

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  5. Survival of human society should not be left to natural chance, I’m talking about social survival…..still we should try to replicate some of the natural selection theory, we can’t mollycoddle our youth….Interesting that adults cause the national problems and the youth get to fight to solve it…we know this of young Muslim men in a Western society they become frustrated (sexuality hormones)….the older Muslims don’t strap bombs to themselves.

    We are seeing the death of empires as we have seen in the past…was it the way we serviced the needs of our youth to carry on social function? Maybe in the end the human system is not so evolved that it can function long term as the bears, birds, elephants….the simple systems work well in a finite world.

    Those humans with the inside run, ie an internal selection that is totally unnatural, can cleans their social responsibilities by donating (tax deductible) what they did not need in the first place…..we discard our less worthy humans and treat them the same as garbage, that is the natural selection surviving, but what is unravelling is that we discard our worthy people at the expense of those with inside run, entrepreneurial law which maintains unworthy wealth…….wolves survive with better discipline.

    Charles Norville
    September 30, 2009
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  6. sounds to me like “maria” and “jules” are total wasters.

    remove the life support.. tell them to get a J.O.B!

    I’m all for supporting your kids… mine will get everything they require.

    That includes a good dose of reality if they think trying to make it as an actress is a job. If you are 25+ and still trying to “make it” …. it is time to wake up and smell the ARABICA baby.

    Supporting delusions is not the job of a parent. Just watch Xfactor or American Idol to see what I mean.

    Reply
  7. Prozak,

    All for supporting your kids? But have them go get a job!

    Sounds to me like Bill is supporting his kids. Success in the Arts is not a paid apprentiship. He knows this and is assisting his family.
    I am certain he knows when their endevor has failed and a reality check into the workforce is required. Best leave him to make that decision along with his family.

    Reply
  8. Our society is collapsing nice to think we have the frivolity of choice, even the troops need entertainment……well I suppose we should keep the arts alive. Still if Maria and Jules get called up to serve in the military they can break a leg, lol….we love our kids and I suppose if we can give them an inside run to life that’s what we do….how do they survive tough, well that’s the next chapter….

    tar and feathers
    October 1, 2009
    Reply

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