Cutest Blog Layout

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Why The College Admissions Scandal Didn't Shock Me

Parenting brings out the strongest feelings in most of us and we will do just about anything to see our children succeed.  Helicopter and Snowplow parenting is common in our society even though studies demonstrate these practices aren't actually good for our kids.  But for most in our culture, personal gain is more valuable than the common good.  Sometimes, we might feel shame for self-promotion, but the parent who does everything possible to promote and benefit his or her child is commended.

We abandon struggling schools to move to more prestigious districts or enjoy the privilege of home schooling.  We choose the club team over the school team.  We teach equality yet enjoy the vast benefits of our own upbringing and the best our money allows.  We always seek what seems best of our own, often at the cost of the greater common community.

Personally, I have struggled to find the balance between enabling and empowering my child.  We are in a 'struggling' school zone known to be less-than-elite.  It often seems that anyone who is able sends their child to a private school or moves away once they reach middle school and beyond.  I can't say I haven't looked for alternatives myself.  I have experienced and witnessed how parents will do anything they feel will benefit their own child - even at great cost to themselves and others.

Higher education already feels so very discriminatory based on your financial resources and personal connections.  Honestly, I thought money could get you into any school long before these allegations came forward.
  • A parent will go to great measures for what he or she perceives is best for their own child.  
  • Unlimited resources open doors that aren't available to everyone.  
These two concepts made me genuinely surprised that the college admissions scandal was such big news.  I wish I was surprised by the scandal, but I already assumed such behavior was taking place.  I didn't even consider that faked test scores and false athletic endeavors would be needed.

How can we respond as parents?

We need to reinforce the truth that there isn't one formula for success.  What happens in education is defined by our family values, individual student strengths and goals.

Character is more indicative for life-success than a resume.  We can teach our children that success isn't determined by college acceptance - Life continues well beyond that benchmark and traits such as integrity, peace, family, community contribution and the ability to work hard are traits to be admired. 

I wasn't shocked and even understand the drive to give our children all we can.  I hope our bond and connections with our children provide the greater source of strength and advantage than attending specific schools and attaining certain careers. 

Friday, March 15, 2019

A New Season of Blended Life

All of life is full of change and over time I've learned to expect the transitions and roll with them much better than I did in the past.  Still, some are even more monumental than others.  My oldest step daughter began her first full time job in a city many miles away.  We had her back for six months after college graduation and got accustomed to having her near.

Transitions are hard and knowing this helps tamp down the panic that I sometimes when realities are shifting and I'm tempted to manage others' emotions.. When I anticipate and allow for sad days and uncomfortable feelings, I'm able to move through them with less resistance and be steady anchor for others who are feeling the loss.  At times, I've been so driven to avoid pain that I have fallen into denial for myself or those I love.  Without intending, I minimize their ability to process and move through their feelings by crowding them out with fixes.  I can think of many time I have done this.

Through previous changes we must allow time to adjust to the new way things will be.  Such is true with our most recent transition, as well.  Mr. Wonderful has adjusted to talking with his daughter by phone or text each day.  It isn't as ideal as face to face conversation, but it honors the relationship they have cultivated for a lifetime.

Change makes me feel unsteady.  I used to panic and become filled with anxiety, often making poor decisions in my desire to return to what is comfortable.  I felt shame for being disoriented and projected that onto those I loved when they were adjusting to changes themselves.  Now, I intentionally make room for my loved ones to feel the change in our lives. Sure, I get impatient and still want to avoid the struggle, but after a lifetime of change I think I'm accepting it much better.  I welcome the idea that it takes time for my heart to process the changes.

The freedom not to rush through feelings of loss and transition is a gift to give myself and those I love.  Like spring, we are slowly unfolding to a new normal and all at once we recognize that a shift has happened - we are okay with things the way they are now.

I notice it happening just in time for another change that I see in the not-so-distant future.  I trust the Lord is already working in our hearts to prepare us.  Some changes are big and some are small.  All require grace.