Who Are You Doing This For?

It’s almost incomprehensible.

The parents were rich. They were powerful. Their kids had access to the best tutors in the world. The best schools. They were already connected. They already had a leg up in life. 

So why did they risk everything—tax fraud, racketeering charges—to bribe their way into college? It’s insane! Even the explanation that some of these parents gave—“I knew it was wrong, but I would do just about anything for my kids”—had trouble standing up in court. Because there were plenty of other colleges these kids could have gotten into. Because the front door was open, too, if they had been willing to work for it—after all, there are people who attend state schools and achieve the same lofty heights as a Harvard grad. 

One of the most revealing bits of the whole case came from a father who asked his accomplices to help make sure his daughter got in anywhere other than ASU. Meaning he didn’t care so much about education as he did the cachet of the institution—and how it measured up against his friend’s kids. And then this father had the audacity to cloak his actions as being selfless. 

The authors of Unacceptable: Privilege, Deceit & the Making of the College Admissions Scandal quote one of the sentencing judges. “It is something parents should be thinking about,” she said. “Are they doing that for their children? Or are they doing it for their own status or for their own goals that do not have anything to do with their children?” 

This is a question you must ask yourself too, in all things you do. Is ballet for your daughter or for you? Is cutting his hair for him or for you? Why are you going on this vacation? Why are you moving? Why are you spending such long hours at the office?

You can’t let family—your kids—be an excuse. That is, you can’t let them excuse doing the wrong thing.

P.S. This was originally sent on November 4, 2020. Sign up today for the Daily Dad’s email and get our popular 11 page eBook, “20 Things Great Dads Do Everyday.”

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