Teach Kids Integrity is Priceless

Clipping from the Beaumont Enterprise editorial

News of the college admissions scandal has me in a quandary. On the one hand I’m furious. On the other hand I have pity for the students in this situation. They have parents who have demonstrated that everything has a price and you can buy what you want regardless of whether you’ve earned it, regardless of whether you may be stealing it from another,  and regardless of whether it is right or wrong to do so.

It was impossible for my children to complete college. I was a single mother. My oldest attended for a while on student loans. She tried to work and attend classes but the directors in the course of study she was taking made it clear they didn’t think she should work while majoring in their department.  

While it may have been difficult for us it was nothing compared to so many who are qualified, even excellent, students and aren’t accepted into the colleges of their choice.  They surely must feel cheated by the cheaters.

I have questions for the parents of those, now college students (or former college students), who did not earn their own way into college. 

  • Did you really think that your money entitled you to steal for your child the place of a well-deserving student? 
  • Did you think your child would be able to graduate without additional cheating? 
  • Or was that part of the plan to purchase term papers and bribe high achievers in need of funds to complete your child’s assignments? 

One justification leads to another, and another.

I taught high school for a number of years and it always amazed me that parents did not see objectively when it came to their children. Or they justified codling them to the point of excusing inacceptable behavior. 

I recall one conversation with the father of a student who was in my study hall. When I told her dad that she was speaking disrespectfully to me he went off on me, talking about teachers in general. His wife had been in a wreck and the teacher was at fault. On and on he talked with general disdain for teachers as if his disrespect justified his child’s behavior.

Another example I recall was when a girl took another girl’s jeans from the gym dressing area. She pulled her own jeans on over the stolen ones. When she was found out and her mother was called, the mother said, “Oh, she always wears two pair of jeans to school.” These are just two examples of parents’ lack of reason or conscience when it comes to raising a child to responsible adulthood. 

I received a text today from the daughter I mentioned earlier. She and her husband are raising a teenager.  She wrote: “There is definitely a minority among parents these days that truly stick with high morals and boundaries for their kids . . . I so greatly appreciate the values instilled in me from my parents. Maybe someday America will reboot its disastrous thinking and redirect things for our kids’ sakes.”

I am torn between revulsion and pity for the generation of young people who are learning either directly or indirectly that the end justifies the means.

As this college admissions scandal plays out I hope to see a call for justice as well as a call for teaching our young people why honestly and integrity are priceless.

I hold a degree from Lamar University in Speech and a Master’s from the University of Texas. I was an educator in regular and special education for twenty years, finishing my professional career as a Braille teacher. I am a Certified Professional Coach with Fowler International Academy.
I married Sam after raising three children as a single mother.
In 2007 I founded SMORE for Women. SMORE is a nonprofit association whose goal is Single Moms, Overjoyed, Rejuvenated, & Empowered. I serve as the Director of the Educational Support Program for Single Mothers with Bridges of Hope, a nonprofit in Beaumont Texas. 
My stories have been published in several Christian books and magazines.My book, Living Learning Lovingis available for purchase on Amazonor Barnes & Noble online.

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