Hard work evens the playing field

When the news broke recently that two Hollywood actresses and 48 others were indicted for their roles in a scheme in which parents paid to have their kids’ records falsified so they could get into elite colleges and universities, I wasn’t shocked. I wasn’t even surprised. It’s no secret that money can buy preferential treatment and encourage someone to look the other way.

But the saddest part of the admissions scandal is that in many cases the parents paid the hundreds of thousands of dollars not because their kids wanted to go to a top school, but because the parents wanted to be able to say that they did.

The media has been quick to call those involved “lawnmower” parents — parents that “mow” down challenges instead of empowering  their child to do that on their own. That’s an insult to those parents who have the best interests of their child at heart. One of the actress’s kids said on social media she didn’t even want to go to college. What a waste.

But even for the parents with good intentions who bribed their child’s way into a school so they could get a better education and further ahead, it was also not money well spent.

The perception that a college education at an elite school results in more success is false.

What dictates success, and what money can’t buy, is a student’s work ethic, ambition, and desire to achieve. No matter where you go, you only get out of your education what you put into it. You can’t buy knowledge, but you can work hard and take all the opportunities that a school has to offer.

Quite frankly when you get to the top of your field, no one cares where you went to school.

Instead of breaking out the checkbook, the best thing parents can do for their kids is to encourage them to excel, to take ownership of their education and become lifelong learners.  Life does not get easier after college – the lessons they learn by tackling obstacles will be with them long after they receive their diploma and serve them well in whatever career they choose.

Categories: Edit Note