Dad, I want a pony!
Most parents would say ‘No’ to this request. Not because they want to deny their child a pony, but simply because this is an unaffordable, preposterous request. But what if you were a millionaire? Don’t you remember how badly you wanted a pony, or a Sega Genesis, or a shiny new CD Player? How awesome would it be, to give your children all those things you never had and always wanted.
“Do rich kids go farther in life?” asks a WA user.
If we look to nature the answer is yes.
“Does a goldfish grow bigger in a bigger fish tank?”
Yes. The more resources given to the goldfish – more oxygenated water, aquarium plants, room to swim, cleaner environments, more food – the larger the fish will grow. In fact, certain crustaceans have shown the ability to grow continuously with no limits (thanks to an abundance of the enzyme telomerase), the only thing that prevents Mega-lobsters from taking over the abyss is predation (giant red lobsters can be quite appetizing and quite slow paced).
Studies have shown, that animals living in zoos live almost twice as long as animals in the wild. In fact, there is such a big discrepancy, that encyclopedias and veterinary references often list 2 entries on the lifespan of an animal; one for the wild and one for captivity. A lion’s life doubles from 15-30 years when placed in captivity while a hedgehog’s can triple from 4 to almost 12 years. In addition, most animals in zoos who are fed delicious diverse diets, live in large habitat-like enclosures and are given toys/enriching activities, are physically healthier and less stressed than those in the wild (even the rats in the zoo I worked at seemed to thrive). So are people who have refined food at their fingertips, live in large mansions, and have expensive resources able to grow and be successful in their couture life more than their poorer counterparts?
Einstein, Eminem, Oprah and Lionel Richie would tell you otherwise. All of them had poor childhoods and have said that the determination to overcome obstacles have forced them to think outside the box. None of them had luxury, let alone the basic resources and advantages to be a step ahead of the game, yet it is precisely this fact that made them who they are and played a huge part in their success. Today kids are handed PDAs before they hit their teens. Orange County kids are getting 5-star vacations for their sweet 16s and Manhattan Upper West siders are bringing bagged lunches containing top grade sushi. Why is it that Lionel Richie, who grew up with nothing, is a successful singer while his daughter, who was born into money, is a high-school dropout and crack addict?
Children who are spoiled are often times the laziest, most unchallenged, and unhappiest people. Spoiled animals don’t display these characteristics.
Although, there are 2 known exceptions to this rule.
One is the Pinniped, such as Orcas and dolphins, and the other is Elephants. These 2 groups are known to become less healthy, depressed, and ultimately die early when placed in captivity. What do we as humans share in common with the Elephants and Pinnipeds?
We both have developed amygdalae – in other words, we have the ability to remember, to evaluate the situation and to appreciate what we have. How can an Orca, who remembers the Pacific, enjoy a Sea World tank? How do Elephants, who roam the Savannah in herds, adjust to an acre of astro-turf. Your daughter might love you if she gets a pony now but then she won’t appreciate the Mercedes at 16.