Milton Freidman observed that Americans usually self-describe as individualists but it would be more accurate to describe Americans as a family-oriented culture. He pointed to the self-sacrifice that parents often make on behalf of children, which would not make sense unless you valued your children more than yourself.
“You know, the thing that is amazing, that people don’t really recognize, is the extent to which the market system has in fact encouraged people and enabled people to work hard and sacrifice in what I must confess I often regard as an irrational way, for the benefit of their children. One of the most curious things to me, in observation, is that almost all people value the utility which their children will get from consumption higher than they value their own. Here are parents, who have every reason to expect that their children will have a higher income than they ever had, and they scrimp and save in order to be able to leave something for their children.”