The college admissions scandal that broke yesterday is likely a game-changer -- the sort of high-profile, alleged criminal conspiracy that will, I predict, lead to major changes in American college admissions.
It also provides an almost-too-easy example of the worst of helicopter parenting. When you break down what the 33 parents among the defendants are charged with doing -- Hollywood actors like Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, successful entrepreneurs, and other wealthy parents -- it really comes down to five things:
- They bought into someone else's definition of success.
- They had little faith in their children.
- They swooped in with money to "fix" the problem.
- They crossed every line of honesty and morality.
- They tried to hide the whole thing from their kids.
Can you imagine being the sons and daughters here? Set aside the fact that your parents now risk going to prison. How do you wrap your head around the idea that everything you've ever thought you accomplished in life now comes with an asterisk (at the very least)?
Granted, the alleged ringleader and the coaches and college officials who allegedly took bribes are charged with more serious crimes. But, there's no excuse for the parents.
As a parent, of course you want to do anything you can for your kids. When my daughter was just a baby, I used to joke that my main goal was now to smooth out all of life's rough edges so she'd never feel any pain or disappointment.
But that's not only impossible; it wouldn't even be good for her.
I know a bit about the audience here at Inc., and it's a good bet that if you're reading this, you've had some success in life. But I'd also bet you can point to some setbacks and trauma - some rough edges -- that ultimately made you stronger.
You might not want to relive them, but would you give them up?
That's what these parents tried to do for their kids. Ironically, they'll all now going to face a much harder challenge than say, getting turned down by Yale or USC ever would have been.
Here's what else I'm reading today:
- If you don't understand what's next for Brexit after yesterday's vote, you're not alone.
- Boeing's 737 MAX 8 is still flying in the United States. For now, anyway.
- The White House wants to put colleges "on the hook" for student loans.
- Microsoft says only 150 employees (out of 120,000) signed a petition against its contract with the U.S. military.
- How Amazon is changing pricing rules for sellers. (It's complicated.)