A reader writes:

I am a young professional, living in the Washington, DC area.  Housing prices have not fallen much aside from the way distant suburbs. I am in a relatively safe job, but there is no way I can or will be able to own a place in this area for the foreseeable future unless I want to commute to work 2 hours each way.

The recession has hit my family a lot harder.  My dad is a software salesman for large-ticket corporate sales.  He is currently employed, but business has slowed down for him quite a bit, and of course is worried.  My mom is a school nurse, which unfortunately in these times, is one of the first items to get slashed from local education payrolls when the money dries up.

I don't know how to describe the feelings I am currently experiencing.  On one hand, I am grateful for the fact I have a stable job and I am investing like crazy in my Roth IRA and my government savings plan.  On the other hand, I look at my parents and am amazed at their strength and resilience, while at the same time wondering if I could possibly support them should they lose their means.  Throughout life my adolescent and adult life, I always wanted to make sure my parents never had to take care of me.  I never imagined that I would be worrying about whether I had the means to support my parents if they needed me to do so.

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