Apr 13, 2010

If I were a rich girl ...

by Jenna Shoffner

Hats off to Tracy Jackson. She may not be the world’s best mom, but maybe some parents can take a cue from her. In our materialistic culture where many parents tend to hand their children luxuries without teaching them an attitude of gratefulness for what has been given, Jackson took admirable action to undo the damage done to her daughter’s attitude from such treatment.

Jackson is the screenwriter of “Confessions of a Shopaholic” and wealthy mother of two girls, one of whom, until recently, was a bona fide spoiled brat.

Living in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Jackson indulged her children with the best amenities life had to offer. She sent her oldest daughter Taylor Templeton to a private school at the price of $35,000 per year and supplied the 15-year-old with a $12,000 wardrobe, according to the New York Post.

Templeton took advantage of her mother’s wealth. She spent $1,000 monthly on food, would charge $500 on iTunes to Jackson’s credit card at one time, and routinely break her cell phone to get a new one. She also spent much of her time smoking marijuana and frequenting clubs despite being under age, also according to the New York Post. And so, Jackson sent her daughter to India. For three weeks, Templeton left Manhattan for the slums of Mumbai to teach English to the poorest children of India, according to the NY Post.

A little extreme? It may seem that way. But I believe that Jackson, though she may have previously spoiled her daughter, did her a tremendous favor by sending her among the poorest of the poor. While Templeton is an extreme example of what many teenagers are today, it seems that most of America’s youth could use a bit of a reality check to the fact that America is an incredibly privileged country.

Apparently, the issue is evident to many. Eighty percent of Americans believe that kids are more spoiled than compared to children of 10 to 15 years ago, according to a CNN survey. Two-thirds of parents concede that their own children are spoiled, according to the poll.

Where does the root of the problem lie? Jackson blames herself as the catalyst for her daughter’s attitude of entitlement.

“It’s no one’s fault but mine. We parents allow it,” Jackson said, according to the New York Post.

Of course, it does not help parents when the media spends $3 billion annually on youth-directed advertising, according to Time Magazine. Such messages send the idea to a young people that they must have whatever is being advertised. When combined with indulgent parents, the attitude develops that desired objects should always be granted.

In America, where having one’s own cell phone, laptop and car by the age of 16 is considered normal, it is crucially important to keep in mind that this lifestyle is unheard of by the majority of the world. Though America is no doubt facing a huge economic downfall, the country is still in nowhere near as bad of shape as many other populations of the world.

Compared with many regions of the world, America is blessed and its citizens should be thankful. One of the best things parents can do for their children is to pass this perspective on to them, while demonstrating such an attitude themselves.

Jackson took action by sending her daughter to India to wake her out of her indulged stupor. Upon seeing the condition of India’s people, she was able to realize how undeservingly privileged she was. While her change was not instant, Templeton eventually matured into a less spoiled young woman who maintains gratitude for all with which she has been blessed, according to the NY Post.

Unlike Jackson, not every parent can send their child overseas. But every parent can be aware of the world’s condition and ensure that their children realize how blessed they are, so in turn, they can take an attitude of thankfulness and not entitlement.

Contact Jenna Shoffner at
jlshoffner@liberty.edu.


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