Just a week ago, 18-year-old Rachel Canning, sued her parents to pay for her private school education and personal expenses. Just a generation ago, Rachel would not know a lawsuit could be brought. What caused the paradigm shift?
Throughout history children understood that they too contributed in the difficult task of family survival. In the earliest days, they worked in fields and cared for younger siblings. With industrialization, they augmented the family’s income by working in factories, the local grocery store, or delivering newspapers for their own spending money.
But better times produced both an economic and psychological transformation. Children were no longer expected to contribute. They went from being useful helpers to protected dependents, spared any of life’s hardships. Simply put: Children stopped working, and parents had to work twice as hard. But even that has changed! Currently, our children have graduated from unionized employees to being our BOSSES.
Rachel’s parents had rules; curfew, chores, and being respectful to elders. Rachel chose to live with friends where she was free to drink and party. She valued independence and demanded that her parents pay for it. She assumed her contract read, “You owe me everything; I owe you nothing.”
The judge dismissed the lawsuit, but the Facebook and Twitter generation were offended. Here is one reaction:
“I have been stunned by the financial greed of modern parents who are more concerned with retiring into some fantasy world rather than provide for their children’s college and young adult years. Suburban baby boomer types are the spoiled lot, they make massive amount of money a year, they are used to flying to luxury destinations when they want, and buy things that they don’t need... people should be inclined to see things my way.”
It’s a NEW WORLD, but not very BRAVE. In this “modern-and-enlightened” culture, the lawsuit is not only legitimate, it’s praiseworthy! How dare parents work hard and foolishly expect to spend their earnings on themselves. And how dare they think that just because they have standards and values, they can impose them upon those living in their home?
Just a generation ago, "Honor thy mother and father" was one of the Ten Commandments. Just a week ago, it was grounds for a lawsuit.