I pity the rich man’s son. He can never know the best things in life. One of the best things in our life is when a young man has earned his own living, and when he becomes engaged to some lovely young woman, and makes up his mind to have a home of his own. Then with that same love comes also that divine inspiration toward better things, and he begins to have his money.
He begins to leave off his bad habits and put money in the bank. When he has a few hundred dollars he goes out in the suburbs to look for a home. He goes to the savings bank, perhaps, for half of the value, and then goes for his wife, and when he takes his bride over the threshold of that door for the first time he says in words of eloquence my voice can never touch: “I have earned this home myself. It is all mine, and I divide with thee.” That is the grandest moment a human heart may ever know.
But a rich man’s son can never know that. He takes his bride into a finer mansion, it may be, but he is obliged to go all the way through it and say to his wife, “My mother gave me that, my mother gave me that, and my mother gave me this,” until his wife wishes she had married his mother. I pity the rich man’s son.
The statistics of Massachusetts showed that not one rich man’s son out of seventeen ever dies rich. I pity the rich man’s sons unless they have the good sense of the elder Vanderbilt, which sometimes happens. He went to his father and said, “Did you earn all your money?” “I did, my son. I began to work on a ferry boat for twenty- five cents a day.” “Then,” said his son, “I will have none of your money,” and he, too, tried to get employment on a ferry boat that Saturday night. He could not get one there, but he did get a place for three dollars a week.
Of course, if a rich man’s son will do that, he will get the discipline of a poor boy that is worth more than a university education to any man. He would then be able to take care of the millions of his father. But as a rule the rich men will not let their sons do the very thing that made them great. As a rule, the rich man will not allow his son to work–and his mother! Why, she would think it was a social disgrace if her poor, weak, little lily-fingered, sissy sort of a boy had to earn his living with honest toil. I have no pity for such rich men’s sons.