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Is someone who sacrifices their life for their children selfless? 

I don't think so. I think they're extremely selfish. That's because I have a high view of the family. I think of my children's interest as being essentially the same as my own. If they are richer, I am richer. Thus, if I give up $10,000 so my son can earn $20,000, I don't think of that as altruism. In fact, if I sepend all my time helping my family and nobody else, that is selfish, not selfless. It is my duty to help my family, to be sure, but doing one's duty is not all that noble. And if my son is a scoundrel, and I help him rather than helping other people who are more deserving, I hardly deserve praise.