Millions of college students have struggled through their years of education. But Rachel Canning, an 18-year-old cheerleader from New Jersey, is suing her parents to force them to pay for all of her university and living expenses. Her friend’s father, a lawyer, is helping Rachel to file the law suit, as she claims that she is not ready to be on her own, and her parents’ rules of doing chores, being respectful, and staying out of trouble at school were unreasonable. She says they only used it against her so they would not have to pay for college.
Well—wow. I wish I had known it was the obligation for my parents to pay for my education. I am headed into graduate school this summer and the pile of student loans already accumulating could use some help. After all, my father actually wasn’t nice to me. Surely he owes me something.
But that’s it, isn’t it? The idea that Rachel and so many others have that their parents, their teachers, the world owes them something, and had better start paying up. What is this sense of entitlement and why does Rachel and anyone else think that they can justifiably use it? Rachel is demanding that her father not only pay for her college tuition—a staggering $5300—but her current living expenses, a future college fund and oh—her legal fees which are already at $12,500. Because, after all, it is their fault.
Rachel has a history of shrieking, “me, me, me!” so to speak. When child protective services met with Rachel last fall after her teacher heard an argument between the teen and her mother, the social worker spent three hours with Rachel, then left. The determination? Rachel was just incredibly spoiled.
Rachel has never had the fortunate experience of dealing with life on her own. She has no idea what it’s like to wonder how to buy a gallon of milk for her kids, all while struggling to finish up that psych assignment. She’s never had to work two jobs just to cover tuition and barely make rent. And here she stands in front of an entire country that was built upon hard work and dreams, and demands to be taken care of—and taken care of well.
Where did the sense of pride in supporting ourselves go? What ever happened to work for your dreams, don’t depend on everyone else? Make no mistake—I fully intend to help my own children as much as I can. I would like them to concentrate more on their studies than holding down a full time job. But when did that become a parental requirement—especially to someone that thinks they deserve all that and more?
Rachel is obviously very certain—no doubt with coaching from her lawyer who is already getting a ton of publicity—that there is no reason that she should set out on her own—apparently ever. Her court papers claim that she is not ready to take care of herself, despite the fact that she is a legal adult. Yet she stormed out of her parents’ house, angry that they were requesting her to do things for the family—like, gasp, chores. Where in her head is she able to think that this is a good idea? How does she reason to herself that suing her own parents and making a public spectacle is an ideal way to behave?
Rachel says that she’s too young to be out on her own. She’s not ready to “take care of” herself at eighteen. However, she’s old enough to not have to follow family rules and choose her own boyfriend—a boyfriend, incidentally, that her parents dislike and worry about the way he treats their daughter.
The Real World
So which is it, Rachel? Adult or simpering child? You can’t have both. You can definitely be an adult and accept help from your parents, but help and “you have to take care of me, my lawyer said so” isn’t going to fly.
Thankfully, the judge agrees. In the hearing just yesterday, on March 4th, the judge denied her requests for current living expenses and an allowance, and delayed ruling on the case as a whole. He stated that he wanted lawyers to consider whether it was a good idea or not to “establish precedent where parents live in fear of establishing rules of the house” (abcnews.com).
I would like to ask Rachel: What next? Are you going to sue someone in the future who doesn’t give you the job that you want? What if there is a guy you want to go out with and he says no? What happens to the teacher who gives you the grade you weren’t expecting? Do they all need to fear your lawyer’s wrath?
No. Because it doesn’t work that way in the real world, little girl. And in that, I will agree with Rachel. She is not ready to be an adult. Not by a long shot.