Last night at the dinner table I kidded around with the children. “Mommy has been working so much lately, I think I’ll quit my job and stay home.” Interestingly, both kids objected. They didn’t like the idea, but the whole thing seemed very reflexive. I didn’t figure it would stick in anyone’s brain.
Flash forward several hours to bedtime. I prayed with Grace and hugged and kissed her. Andrew’s room was next. I did the same with him.
As I was walking out, he asked, “Dad, were you serious about quitting your job?”
“No, not really,” I said. “I was mostly kidding around with you.”
“That’s good, Dad,” he said. “I don’t like to think of you as a quitter. It makes me feel good to know that you are out there working for us.”
“Okay, son. I won’t quit. Don’t worry.”
As I closed his door and walked out of the room, I reflected on what he had said and was glad for how he feels. It is good that my son expects me to have a job. I am grateful that he sees my work as something that I do for our family. His reaction also tells me that he will view work as the right thing for him to do, as well.
There are gaps in wealth in this country. Gaps in financial capital between families. But there are gaps in social capital, too. I don’t know that I will ever inherit much in terms of dollars from my parents, but I did inherit social and cultural capital (habits, examples, standards).
One thing is almost certain. The social inheritance we leave our children is more important than the financial one.