One of the perks of parenting is the so-called Dad Tax—the bite of their ice cream, the pieces of their Halloween candy, the biggest pork chop on the serving dish. It’s your house and you are bigger, so you get to exact the iron price from your kids anytime you want.
The basketball coach John Thompson, who grew up poor in Washington, D.C, recalls that his father always ate whatever he and his siblings left on their plate. But as he got older, he realized that this was a different kind of Dad Tax—one his father was paying, not collecting. “Now I realize the man must have been hungry but sacrificed so we could have more than him,” Thompson wrote in his memoirs. “Was I so selfish that I didn’t realize he chewed on that pork chop bone I left behind, why he sopped up the gravy on my plate? My father was providing. He didn’t eat so we could eat.”
As they say, privilege is the flipside of responsibility. The inherent, unquestionable responsibility that you assumed the minute you brought a child into the world was that they come first. They get the bulk of what’s available. They don’t get the biggest pork chop, they get as many pork chops as they need. They get to experience the fun and the sweet of life…if there are any leftovers, even if it’s just the scraps, then maybe you get a taste.
That’s how this goes. Don’t forget it.