Actress Lori Loughlin was just sentenced to two months in prison, for her role in a college admissions scandal in which Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli illegally secured spots at a top college for their daughters. The charges among which were bribery, fraud and money laundering, involved over 50 other people, and included multiple “elite” schools.
You might think, “well, that’s snarky and entitled but sometimes that’s how rich people act. Nobody really got hurt, right? I say wrong. Here’s why I think you should be upset about all this:
First of all, can anyone afford to be behaving snarky and entitled right now? We’re being asked to wear masks and social distance to keep one another safe. We’re seeing Black Lives Matter and understanding that not everyone may be having the same American experience. There’s so much inequality and injustice in the world right now. We can’t fix systemic issues by being divisive or by thinking we are separate. Loving your children is great. That’s how it’s supposed to work. But believing that your children are better than other people’s children? That’s a no go. If we want a better world, we have to want it for everyone’s kids, not just our own.
Cheating your children into college sends the message, “I don’t think you can do this on your own.” It’s helicopter parenting at its worst. We learn from our failures. We learn resilience. We learn ways to do things differently. Failure eventually teaches us how to succeed. We do our children a great disservice by not allowing them to fall on their faces once in a while. Cheating also negates hard work and dedication. Not only will those kids never know what they could have accomplished on their own, they’ve just been told that they’re special and there’s no need for hard work and dedication.
Here’s a newsflash; college isn’t even a good fit for everyone. A college degree can be extremely valuable but it’s not the only road to success. If you have to cheat to make sure your kid gets there, maybe it’s not the right path for them. While we’re discussing success, I think it’s time we implement a new metric to measure it. Attending a good college, getting a great job and earning lots of money are all well and good but none of those things guarantee happiness. What about healthy relationships and devoted friends and volunteerism and hobbies and rescue pets and a thousand other small things which make up a life? Success comes in a lot of different flavors. Let’s start acknowledging that. Success doesn’t have to look like achievement.
Finally, where does it end? After college, do you bribe companies to get your adult child a job? Do you step in and micro manage their relationships? Do you raise their children for them? We all want to protect our children from hardship and heartache. I get it, truly. But most of the time such protections are neither possible nor appropriate. Loughlin said “I thought I was acting out of love for my children, but in reality it only undermined and diminished my daughters’ abilities and accomplishments.”