SARAH VINE says a child who has never had to accept responsibility for themselves will never reach their full potential Daily Mail 12 Apr 2017 My FATHER has a story he likes to tell, about when he was a boy at grammar school. As well as being a bit of a chess prodigy and a very decent violinist, he was also a promising tennis player. One summer, in an important tournament, he got to the final but broke his racquet. My grandfather refused to buy him another one — and he duly lost the final. ‘I promised myself two things that day,’ my father always says when he re-tells this tale (as he does rather often). ‘First, that I would never rely on anyone else again; and second, I would always make sure I could afford a new tennis racquet.’ It was, he says, a defining moment. Now I have no idea how much of the story is true and how much is the family fable. But either way, the point stands: everyone needs to know how it feels to play with a broken racquet, real or metaphorical, at least once in their lifetime. I imagine Gordon Ramsay had a few of those moments growing up on a Glasgow council estate (perhaps involving broken bottles rather than racquets). And while he doubtless would not wish anything so extreme on his children, it’s clear he doesn’t intend to fall into the Bernie Ecclestone, Philip Green or Prince Andrew trap of producing vacuous offspring who do little besides spending money and taking holidays. ASKED how he would dispose of his money, he said: ‘It’s definitely not going to them — and that’s not in a mean way. The only thing I’ve agreed with Tana [his wife] is that they get a 25 per cent deposit on a flat.’ He also said that when travelling together he — quite rightly — makes the children sit in economy while he and the missus ‘turn left’. ‘I worked my f****** a*** off to sit that close to the pilot,’ he said. ‘They haven’t worked anywhere near hard enough to afford that.’ All of which might explain why his children — Megan, 18, Jack and Holly, 17, and Matilda, 15 — appear to be remarkably well-grounded. And despite their closeness to the Beckhams, none of them as far as I can tell has a tattoo, a modelling contract or plans to release a pop single. In other words, so far, so normal. The same can’t be said for another self- made millionaire in the spotlight yesterday, property developer Manny Davidson. He and his wife Brigitta are locked in a bitter High Court dispute with their two children over the former family home in Gloucestershire. Their son and daughter already own the house, but it seems that is not enough. They want the contents, too, which include silver worth £ 13 million, a £ 3 million jewellery haul and various paintings and artefacts. ‘If I had my time again, I would pay only for [ the children’s] education and a first home,’ says Mr Davidson, somewhat bitterly. ‘After that, I would not give them any more. They would have to fend for themselves.’ The world is full of similar, albeit much less wealthy, parents who, having given their children every advantage, find themselves saddled with pampered, flaky half-adults incapable of standing on their own two feet. The truth is a child who never has to accept responsibility for themselves is a child who can never reach full potential — emotionally, intellectually or professionally. They will never go that extra mile, stay that extra hour or get that earlier train because all the time in the back of their mind will be the knowledge that, if things go wrong, they’ll be fine. It seems clear that there is only one sensible solution: whether your vice is fine wine or far-flung holidays, spare the child and spend the inheritance.