Daddy opened up a number of small businesses growing up
The earliest one was a Baskin Robbins where I used to work starting at the age of 11. Obviously, I would be there with one of my parents, and I think the customers thought it was cute to see me working there - or at the very least, they didn't feel strongly enough to report my parents for possibly violating child labor laws 😆.
Daddy wanted us to work to learn some responsibility, but never because we had to. He said he worked so hard so his kids never had to endure the same struggles he did, and he stayed true to his word.
In the summers, I would work at Baskin Robbins while I was in middle school. In high school, I spent part of my summer working at the Arby's franchise my parents had bought. But again for Daddy, it was more about learning responsibility than to earn money. He gave me a weekly allowance PLUS a decent amount of money per hour when I worked. But this was purely for my own enjoyment. He didn't want me to work too hard; he wanted me to focus on being a kid and on school, and that's it. Heck, he was upset at me one summer during college because I decided to be a server at a local restaurant, and he told me I should be enjoying my summer instead of slaving over tables.
I knew if I wanted or needed anything, I could just ask Daddy and he would give it to me, much to the consternation of Mummy. So though he was ATTEMPTING to teach me lessons in responsibility, uhhhh, they weren't necessarily that successful.
I would never have considered my family rich. Definitely upper middle class, but never rich. But when some of my friends met me in undergrad, they clearly thought I was rich because I spent a lot of Daddy's hard-earned money without much thought. I mean, I used to just buy new boxers, socks, shirts, jeans, etc. just because I was too lazy to do my laundry (yeah, it was bad 🤣). But Daddy would rarely ever say anything to me, even though Mummy would try to. But again, he said I was having fun and that was the most important thing.
But this drove my brother and sister nuts. My brother was super responsible with spending money, and my sister was still pretty young at the time so didn't spend much by default. But I clearly set a different precedent than they did, so the expectations were MUCH different.
You see, Daddy EXPECTED me to spend money, so when I did, he didn't mind it. But when Manish or Monica spent money, he would ask them whether it was a responsible use of it. They would look at him in shock with this line of questioning and get mad at Daddy.
"Manoj always spends a lot of money so why are you questioning US??"
"Well, it's Manoj so we expect that from him but not out of you."
Now, I'm still not sure whether that was an insult or not 😆, but regardless, it was on-point. And I'm ashamed to say this, but even throughout medical school and residency, there were times I asked my parents for financial help, and as I stated before, Daddy always said yes and gave me more than I needed (see Post #14).
I remember in undergrad how my girlfriend was shocked about how much my parents did for me, and I looked at her like she was crazy. I said, "well, of course they do that. They're my parents. They're EXPECTED to do that." But that wasn't her reality, nor many other peoples reality.
But as I've gotten older, I started taking this much less for granted. The childhood I had was not typical (and though I focus on the positives in my posts, there were many negatives, believe me). And ultimately, I owe my parents a ton. And though they never believed me when I said I would pay them back many years ago (I don't even know if I believed it at the time), I'm going to do whatever I can to make a dent in the debt I am blessed to be buried in.