Ever since I read about Operation Varsity Blues, I felt compelled to offer my reflections as a private school mom (and how I navigated the system). I lived a private school life with two of my three children at some of the most prestigious schools in this country. My other life is as a Special Ed mom, which contributed significantly to how I raised my private school kids.
My favorite movie is Ever After – A Cinderella Story, starring Drew Berrymore and Angelica Houston. One of the most classic lines in the movie is delivered when Angelica Houston (the wicked stepmother) gets caught after scheming and manipulating to get her eldest daughter married to the Prince.
A woman would practically do anything for the love of a daughter, Your Majesties. [pause] Perhaps I did get a little carried away…
Life imitates fiction.
Why do some parents go to any length; casting character, conscience and constitution to the wind, just to get their kids into the best schools possible?
That’s where the conversation should start. Why?
Is it love? Is it not wanting to see their children fail? Is it ego (or the Id as Freud might conclude)? I have to admit, I secretly wanted to be able to boast about the schools my kids got into; but I slapped myself back to reality as I observed my disabled son, who lives life in the moment, and internally resolved that however it ended up, it was exactly as it should be. This, despite the helicopter tendencies that plagued my generation.
The journey through the private school maze was nothing short of challenging, surprising, and at times downright miserable. But it was fun too. I bet you didn’t expect me to say that.
As I think about the families who participated in the cheating, bribing, lying and manipulating, some from schools in my own community, to get their kids into top colleges and universities, I can’t help but think of the phrase I repeated to my family throughout their growing years…and still do…
“Everything you do is a reflection on your family.”
My hope in sharing my reflections as a private school mom (who is far from perfect), is that other moms (and dads) who want the best for their children, will think on these things…