Regardless of social class, most parents have dreams for their children. My parents worked hard to get where they are today. My father is doctor and my mother’s life has always revolved around the family and activities in the community. I was fortunate to be raised in an upper-middle class family. My parents taught me that I could realize any and all of my dreams if I studied hard and worked hard. In whatever I aspired to do they encouraged me to do to the best of my ability. They emphasized the importance of honesty and fairness. Success was not to be acquired at the expense of other people. They taught me the importance of being tolerant and compassionate towards those less fortunate than myself.
Armed with the lessons my parents taught me, I aspired to become a doctor like my father. My parents directed me to the best medical colleges, but I was accepted based on my own merits and not those of my parents. Since my parents are paying for my education, I’m able to devote all my time to my studies and still have time to socialize with my friends. I plan to specialize in the field of plastic surgery. It interests me and the money is excellent. I’d like to open a private practice in an affluent area and my parents have promised to provide the financial backing that I’ll need. If I’m successful, I will likely be in the ranks of the upper social class. At some point I will probably contribute to society by using my skills for a charitable cause.
The article in the New York Times stated that people of higher social classes tend to have better health insurance. The irony is that the wealthy don’t really need better health insurance because they could probably afford to pay their medical bills regardless. Better health insurance would allow them to keep more of their wealth for themselves though. The assumption that lower social classes have a lower standard of health insurance is not entirely true. Some employers offer excellent health insurance plans as well as offering their employees a choice between three or four different plan. State employees usually have exceptional health insurance and they’re also offered a choice of plans. Still, there are those who fall into the lowest classes who often don’t have any insurance at all and this can be a real burden especially for families with young children.
There were several statements in the article that stereotyped. For example, “Parents with money, education and connections cultivate in their children the habits that the meritocracy rewards.” This statement assumes that money, education, and connections determine the success of one’s life and nothing could be further from the truth. Another statement suggests that upper social classes desire the best school districts, the best preschools and the best doctors. Why would anyone assume that lower social classes don’t desire the same things? To assume that would also suggest that parents of lower social classes aren’t very good parents.
The idea that children of lower classes are less likely to move up the social ladder in adulthood is new to me and very disheartening. The “American Dream” is still attainable in my mind. Although some may have to work harder to achieve their dreams and it may even take a little longer, the ideal is not forever lost. Another new idea contends that social class determines school performance. I totally disagree. Children from lower class homes often work extra hard to achieve good grades. The difficulties their parents face actually give the children a desire for a better way of life and they know that it will take hard work to do that. Children from higher social classes take their lifestyles for granted. They don’t appreciate things like education because they have all they need already.
Leonhardt, Janny Scott and David. “Shadowy Lines That Still Divide.” 15 June 2005. The New York Times. 10 November 2008 <http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/15/national/class/OVERVIEW-FINAL.html?pagewanted=5>.