He wasn’t proud of the comment nor, I’m sure, does he consciously do anything to encourage such a perception in his daughter.
It does though, I think, illustrate just how difficult it is to raise kids who are A) sheltered from the world’s ugliness and pain and B) mindful of it. In other words, sheltering our kids from the world runs the risk of our kids thinking they’re the center of it.
The NY Times ran a story in their Sunday Travel section on the increasing number of well-heeled parents sending their well-off kids on service trips to impoverished places in the world.
Rather than taking an expensive vacation to the Caribbean, for example, many families are opting to spend the same amount of money by volunteering together in a place in the world that might need them.
I’ve written here before that I don’t think we should use the ‘poor’ of the world to achieve our parenting ends. I still have that caution but my neighbor’s comment two weeks ago pointed out to me how the extreme comfort most of our kids live in might call for extreme measures in opening their eyes to the world and, more importantly perhaps, awakening their sense of calling to it.
It also points out to me that the Church makes a mistake when it assumes we can disciple children primarily through Sunday School type experiences. Most churches wait until their children are high school students before they expose them to hands-on service with the poor, but by then their worldview and habits of affluence are largely already in place. Maybe the Church’s best antidote to having children who say ‘only Hispanics clean’ is by making sure our children get their hands dirty serving the poor from as early an age as possible.
Here’s the article by the way.