As parents, we all want to do right by our kids. We want to be the best possible version of ourselves. We want to be kind. We want to lead by example. And for many of us, we want to teach our children the value of a hard day's work. And although it isn't always easy, and although we sometimes fail, we always try at the very least. But let me ask you this: If you became a millionaire, thanks to selling the land your vegetable farm resided on (and then made even more money, thanks to a few smart business decisions), would you still get up six days a week at 3:00 in the morning to pick up trash off the streets just to "set an example" for your kids? To try to ensure they don't become entitled brats with no work ethic whatsoever? One mom did. And she's been doing it for 15 long years.
Yu Youzhen is somewhat of a celebrity in her hometown of Wuhan City in Central China because, yes, she's a millionaire (she owns 17 apartment buildings), but still manages to get up every day to clean the streets of her city. Her job pays her $230 a month, and like I said, she has to wake up at 3:00 a.m. six days a week. Youzhen told local reporters: "I want to set an example for my son and daughter, a person can't just sit at home and 'eat away' a whole fortune." She also noted that she was motivated when she saw other former landowners lose all their earnings to gambling and drugs. As for her children -- well, what Youzhen is doing is working. Currently, her son works as a driver, earning about $320 a month, while her daughter is an office worker, making $480 a month.
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I've gotta be honest here: If I were Yu, I probably wouldn't have kept my job. Of course I want to set an example for my kids -- and, yes, instill good work values in them -- but I really just can't see myself waking up at 3:00 in the morning each day to work as a street cleaner when I had millions of dollars in the bank. For 15 years. Unsurprisingly, there have been tons of lovely comments on the beautiful Internet, saying that Youzhen is a jerk for "taking someone else's job." And to that, I can only say: Wow. People really will always find something to hate on. (That's not a good example for kids!)
I think it's amazing what Youzhen is doing. And I admire her tremendously. She's teaching her kids responsibility, values, and the art of not complaining. And not only that, she's shown her children what "smart" business decisions and hard work can get you. How many millionaire parents are successful in doing that for their kids? How many rich kids have their own reality shows right now, simply for being rich?!
I wish I could say that I'd keep my street cleaning job if I came into great fortune like Youzhen did, but I can't even lie and say I would. (This is like the whole "Oh, yeah, I'd totally keep my job if I won the Power Ball.") I'm fairly certain I would do something with my money and life that would help instill good values into my children -- at least, I hope I would. But it definitely wouldn't entail waking up at 3:00 in the morning.
What do you think of this?
Image via WageIndicator - Paulien Ossen/Flickr