In regards to the college admittance scandal, many have said, “I can’t believe a parent would do that.” Really? I don’t know all the details and honestly neither does anyone else unless they are involved in the investigation, but what I do know is the nature of us parents.
As parents, we make tremendous sacrifices for our children to succeed and to have opportunities far greater than what we had. In fact, the more successful our children are, the better we feel about ourselves as parents. Sometimes we can get so caught up in solidifying the success and happiness of our children that we get derailed before we realize it.
I can remember getting off track in my parenting, unfortunately, more than once. One of those moments that I’m not proud of, but I will share to make my point.
My husband and I were being what we thought were good parents. We were active and engaged with our three sons and daughter who were all involved in sports. Needless to say, we spent countless hours at the ballfield. In order to make each practice and game more convenient, we often times had our boys play for the same team. Because they were so close in age, most of the time this was not a problem. One particular year, the age cutoff would mean that all three of our boys would have to play on different Pop Warner football teams. Our daughter was playing travel softball so this would mean that we would have four different practice schedules during the week and four different games on the weekends. This schedule seemed to be impossible so we were happy when we found out about the “older lighter rule” in Pop Warner football which would allow a child to play down an age group if they were not over a certain weight. Our son, Collin, who was playing as an older-lighter was thrilled because he had more experience than anyone else on the team and was a standout player on the team. The head coach of the team was also thrilled to have him because he made the team much better. Carl and I were thrilled that Collin and Kendal were playing on the same team which made it a little easier for our schedule. All was going well with the season until one day when I took my sons to the ball field for the pregame weigh-in and I got caught trying to cheat the system.
This is what we did that was wrong. To make sure that our son didn’t weigh-in over the required weight limit, we outfitted him with very light shoulder pads for the weigh-in then secretly changed him into heavier shoulder pads for the game. I didn’t know that we were being watched by the opposing team, but we were and we were reported.
I was humiliated. Our family was so embarrassed. Our team had to forfeit the game, our coach and my son was suspended for several games. We profusely apologized and were forgiven by some, but hated even more by others. This infraction got so much attention that the Pop Warner organization in our area changed the rules of weigh-in to be without pads to prevent another incident like ours from happening.
You may say, this is nothing like the situation that is currently happening with the college admittance scandal, but I would disagree. Do we let our children experience disappointment and failure or do we intervene? If you don’t know the answer to these questions then just ask a current teacher, coach or professional who works with children.
Unfortunately, we don’t get a do-over when it comes to parenting. Instead of pointing fingers at others who have made mistakes, let us realize that we are all imperfect and that our success as a parent does not hinge on our children getting everything they want.