Teen Who Got into All 8 Ivies Credits “Helicopter Parents”

Hi Readers — Kwasi Enin, a Long Island, NY, high school senior who got into all the Ivies credits his “helicopter parents” for pushing him to excel. So does this mean that helicopter = success and, possibly, Free-Range = failure? Of course I don’t think so. Here’s why.

1  – First is the fact that success can be defined many, many ways, of which “Ivy League acceptance” is just one. But you knew that.

2 – We have no idea where the Free-Range kids are going to college. And even if they all got into Ivies, see #1.

3 – Free-Rangers DO believe in helping our kids to succeed. The way we do it is by loving them (as I’m sure Kwasi’s parents do) and letting them know that we believe in them.  (Ditto.) It’s just that we believe in them —  and basic human nature — so much that we believe they can do many things safely and successfully on their own.

We are still happy to help, and often do, but we don’t think our kids need us to schedule every second, handle every issue, or make every moment “teachable.” We believe in our kids to the point where even when it looks like “all” they’re doing is playing outside, walking to school, or pursuing some hobby that we didn’t choose for them, they are still learning. Note: This may or may not result in higher grades.

We have nothing against helicopter parents, and most likely we are all some mixture of both. I know I am — in part because “Free-Range” isn’t a parenting philosophy so much as a world view: We do not believe our kids are in constant danger, so there’s no need to act as if they are. (Or make laws as if they are.)

All of us want the best for our kids and all believe they can do great things. Free-Rangers may stand back a little more than Kwasi’s parents. But we share the belief that our kids should be grateful, engaged, and kind. And that they’ve all got the goods to be “successful” — however you define it.  - L

Helicoptered Kids Only?

 

 

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46 Responses to Teen Who Got into All 8 Ivies Credits “Helicopter Parents”

  1. Melissa April 3, 2014 at 1:39 pm #

    I’m sure that most of the credit is due to the young man himself!

  2. C. S. P. Schofield April 3, 2014 at 1:48 pm #

    Don’t credit him as a success until he’s graduated, gotten a job, and stopped living at home.

  3. brian April 3, 2014 at 1:53 pm #

    I am willing to guess that his definition of helicopter parent may be a little different than ours. The article states that his parents are immigrants from Ghana and both worked full time as nurses. He describes them as having pushed him really hard, not as having coddled him. I don’t get the feeling that they were there telling him he was great even when he failed or doing his homework for him or telling teachers and coaches to make sure to let him play.

  4. Farrar April 3, 2014 at 1:54 pm #

    This is one of my fears actually – that colleges and employers will begin not just to cater to these overinvolved parents as there have already been stories about, but to prefer children whose parents show up to their job interviews, call the college admissions office every day on their behalf, chat up their professors and bosses and so forth. I would hate to face the dilemma down the road of having to help my child get a job, not because he’s not capable of doing it himself (hopefully!), but because the employer feels that parents should help their 20-somethings get employment or that 20-something is seen as not really “supported” and therefore a bad employee. When helicoptering becomes institutionally preferred, how are parents supposed to compete?

  5. Melissa April 3, 2014 at 1:56 pm #

    Hmmm… not sure about this. Yes, HE says they’re helicopter parents, but then describes them as being strict and motivating him to do his best. That doesn’t necessarily describe a helicopter parent to me, just a loving and dedicated one, which is not exclusive to being a helicopter parent. As you always say, Lenore, free-range parents are not “hands off – I don’t care what you do”, they’re loving and dedicated too, but allow a child to do and think more for themselves.
    Kudos to this kid and his parents, but I don’t really see it as one or the other. Free range kids can raise a mature, intellectually curious, motivated child too.

  6. Melissa April 3, 2014 at 1:57 pm #

    I meant to say “free range parents” …

  7. Bose in St. Peter MN April 3, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

    Congrats to Kwasi and his parents, clearly and unambiguously.

    And, congrats to all of the kids who are progressing and thriving, but who would have been hindered more than helped by parents following a similar path to his.

    The best guess (or hope, at least) is that Kwasi has also gathered many skills in common with free-range kids. Skills like making his way independently around LI and NYC, setting his own schedule, adventuring, cooking, stopping for free-form think time, reading richly outside assigned texts, managing money and veering off the beaten path.

  8. Donna April 3, 2014 at 2:25 pm #

    I was just about to say what brian said. It sounds like his parents pushed him, not that his parents coddled him and treated him like an infant. It sounds like his parents were Tiger parents and not helicopter parents.

    That is the problem with these buzz words. They mean different things to different people.

  9. SKL April 3, 2014 at 3:04 pm #

    A few things.

    First, I agree with others – maybe he meant “tiger parents” and not “helicopter parents.” They are not the same thing. I am a bit of a tiger mom in some ways. Including when it comes to independence. Some would say I “pushed” early with respect to self-care, as well as academics.

    Secondly, what about all the kids who aren’t ever going to get into the Ivies no matter what their parents do? Not everyone can, not everyone even wants to. I never even thought of applying to any of those schools. Heck, I don’t even know which schools are on the list. Maybe my kids will care someday, maybe they will not. I don’t think it’s that important honestly. I can say that I’ve never been unemployed, not even for a day since I was a full-time student (~25 years ago). And never been bankrupt, in prison, or a bunch of other things that not all Ivy League graduates can say. Not only is this “good enough,” but it’s more realistic to hope this for my kids.

  10. anonymous this time April 3, 2014 at 3:12 pm #

    It sounds like this young man is compassionate, dedicated, and has found a lot of meaning in achieving what he has achieved.

    Whether it is getting into an Ivy League school or running away to join the circus, may all people everywhere have compassion, meaning, and joy in their lives.

  11. Natalie April 3, 2014 at 3:15 pm #

    No, it’s not helicoptering.

  12. Natalie April 3, 2014 at 3:17 pm #

    Also, he’s obviously got a great work ethic, is intelligent, and pushes himself to excel.

    Best of luck to him.

    His parents are doing a great job.

  13. Emily April 3, 2014 at 3:25 pm #

    Small thing–the article says that he plays the cello, and sings in the school orchestra. That can’t be right–people don’t sing in orchestras; it’s all instruments.

  14. Portlandia April 3, 2014 at 3:31 pm #

    Many, many kids have helicopter or tiger parents but Enin is the only one who got accepted to all of the ivies, that’s why he is in the news. So maybe he achieved this despite the neuroses of his parents. A kid as smart as Enin should know about the fallacy of “post hoc, ergo propter hoc.”

  15. Crystal April 3, 2014 at 3:39 pm #

    When I first saw the story, I thought, great for him, but who cares? College is not the be-all, end-all. I am a sportswriter and I can’t tell you how many professional athletes I’ve interviewed who didn’t go to the big-name schools. And yet today, they’re still doing what they love. The same goes for all careers. Find what you love and chase it with all your might. Obviously, this kid loves applying to colleges!

  16. J- April 3, 2014 at 3:51 pm #

    I know I’m going to get chewed on for saying this but…

    I went to a very fancy college prep school where the goal was to get kids into Ivy League or other prestigious schools. The thing is, the focus of the kids and parents was getting into the Ivy. Acceptance was the end game. They had no idea what they wanted to do after that. The race is not won once you open that acceptance letter from Harvard. At my 10 year high school reunion, the only friend I had that went to an Ivy and was successful in a career was the economics major from Penn/Wharton. Our Yale architecture grad was selling plumbing supplies, our Harvard philosophy/lit grad was unemployed, and our Dartmouth grad was a part-time substitute teacher.

    If this kid got into all 8 Ivy’s because his helicopter parents were always on him, how is he going to function once he’s on his own? What about after school?

    My parents were pretty free range, but always supported my eduction. Once I got to school, I knew how to take care of myself. If this kid can’t complete a homework assignment or a load of laundry without parental hovering, his parents have done him a disservice, no matter how many acceptance letters he got. I want a followup news report on this kid, 1, 4 and 10 years from now.

  17. dancing on thin ice April 3, 2014 at 3:57 pm #

    College is not a guarantee of success which can be defined by many things beyond having a good job once they have graduated. Lenore is an inspiration of the good one person can do.

    The list of innovators that dropped out of college include computer company founders Steve Jobs, Larry Ellison of Oracle, Bill Gates, Google’s Larry Page, Michael Dell & Mark Zuckerberg.
    By contrast, Ted “The Unabomber” Kaczynski was arrested on this date in 1996 (April 3) having graduated from Harvard and once was a math professor at Berkeley.

  18. Havva April 3, 2014 at 4:29 pm #

    I hope they really are ‘just’ Tiger parents and not real helicopters. I assume he was also intrinsically motivated, despite the helicopter parents credit. I certainly could have said of my (free-range) parents “They taught me 95 percent isn’t good enough.” But they couldn’t make me succeed (they tried) in some things I just didn’t want. They also weren’t looking over my shoulder on my homework. They only occasionally asked to see my graded work. When I told my parents my I had cleared my usually hours of homework(I had), had some cash, and wanted to go out with friends, on a school night. They just hand me a $20 (over objections) and told me to go enjoy my night off.

    I think that managing things for myself paid off in college, where the pitfall of external motivation and organization really show.

    (@J thanks for letting me know I’m not the only high end education here I really hate showing off).
    I went to a highly competitive college (not Ivy, but most students had Ivy recruitment letters or acceptances). Anyhow…it was also a miniscule group in my major. So there was a lot of interaction even between grades and a lot of people in everyone’s business. When I came, the upperclassmen pointed out two people as the only ones probably really ‘worthy’ in our class. They were appalled that only one person had gotten an 800 on any section of the SAT (they had a lot more 800’s). The other ‘deserving’ kid was a prep school kid who came close on the SAT. The class was a little too blue collar for some.

    The one with the 800’s never really sat down to do his work. He also needed help with his laundry, and I hear he quit trying to learn and took big sack of laundry back to mom once a month. He failed in the second semester. He was allowed back after a big sob story blaming alcohol. He didn’t make it the second time either. The prep school kid failed out in multiple subjects in the first semester.

    The kid who was marked from the start (by students and faculty alike) as guaranteed to fail out, was our class speaker at graduation. He credited his dad in a moving story that started with dad picking him up after getting injured in a softball game. That dad wasn’t there didn’t get a wince or apology. His dad apparently didn’t care if he won or lost, didn’t mind the injury. But there was one thing dad wouldn’t stand for, and that was him being afraid. So dad took him back out on the field and went over the thing that scared (and injured) my classmate again and again until he wasn’t afraid anymore. And my classmate credited his dad for teaching him to picking himself back up and keep trying (the thing that got him through a tough major that he had marginal credentials for).

  19. SOA April 3, 2014 at 4:35 pm #

    I am not impressed. So what?! He got into all the IVYs. That’s great. I am sure he is very smart. When he cures cancer or graduates with straight A’s from the IVY or gets a very prestigious job or really does something that will change the world for the better, then I will be truly impressed.

    Just getting into a fancy school does not make you somebody. I had plenty of friends that got into IVYs but they could not even afford to go there so what was the point? Or they failed out. Or they barely graduated. Just getting into a school to me is not a huge accomplishment. Going there and getting straight A’s and then getting a good prestigious job is what impresses me. Many people go to college and smoke weed and have sex the entire time and never show up to class.

  20. Bacopa April 3, 2014 at 4:56 pm #

    I agree with others that this kid may not exactly have been helicoptered. At any rate I wish him the best.

    I work at a branch of a state university that focuses on degree completion and graduate studies. I have met more than one Ivy dropout who is completing a degree at thirty.

  21. SKL April 3, 2014 at 5:03 pm #

    Yeah I have to admit that I’m surprised at all the hoopla about this accomplishment. I mean, that’s great for him. But why do the rest of us care? People are acting like he’s found the cure for AIDS and cancer.

    And no, this is not sour grapes. I got accepted to every school I ever applied to, and got some scholarship money too. I just happened to want to stay close to home. I got recruitment letters from some Ivies because of some high test scores. I threw them in the garbage. It just wasn’t my scene. No regrets. I wouldn’t expect anyone else to care one way or the other.

    How do people even know about this, anyway? Who blabbed to the media?

  22. James April 3, 2014 at 6:01 pm #

    There are a lot more helicopter parents out there than there are slots in Ivy League schools.

  23. bmj2k April 3, 2014 at 9:13 pm #

    We are only judging him on academic success. That does not necessarily equal common sense, street smarts, or even if he is an interesting person you’d have a conversation at a party with. Yes, he is smart, and yes he seems to be a good person, but who is to say if he is well-rounded? Who is to say if he is going to turn his academic achievement into something positive? Kudos for his impressive accomplishment, but (if we assume his helicopter parenting really was helicopter parenting)who is to say if he is an all-around success? His helicopter parenting still may have left him socially maladjusted, for example. The jury is still way, way out on this.

  24. Andrea April 3, 2014 at 9:35 pm #

    I’m glad this young man is doing well for himself, but I think this overblown lauding of people getting into this or that university is so last century. Really, why do I care if my kid goes to college or makes a successful career as a plumber? One of the coolest people I know is a plumber. I would choose his company over most college graduates I know.

    And I went to a relatively prestigious university. Not ivy league, but, like, j.v. ivy league.

  25. Reziac April 3, 2014 at 9:47 pm #

    Ya know, I’ll bet this young man would have gotten into any college he wanted even if he were a street orphan. He sounds like he has the brains and drive — which no amount of close, loose, or even absent parenting will alter. It’s in YOU, young man.

  26. hineata April 3, 2014 at 11:00 pm #

    What a cool kid. Hope he’s really successful.

    Am just reading a book at the moment actually (The Over Achievers), about how tough it is to get into some of these schools. I just am thankful my kids don’t have to worry about this sort of nonsense – the local uni is quite good enough. The writer claims some of the undergrads at Ivy schools are disappointed by the level of teaching – supposedly these schools gain their reputation through research, and so many of the classes are run by postgrad students anyway, rather than the professors whose names are attached to the programmes. At smaller, less prestigious schools you’re more likely to be taught by professors etc. Not sure if that’s true or not, but I hope this kid has fun and learns something regardless.

  27. SKL April 4, 2014 at 2:37 am #

    I just read the article, the first I’ve read about this dude. It is interesting that his family immigrated from Ghana. It reminds me of an article I recently read – something about a second book by that Tiger Mom ?? saying that people from this kind of background are much more likely to succeed, because there is ambition in their family culture, they have overcome big obstacles, AND they don’t think too much of themselves. (OK, that’s my own paraphrase based on what little I recall of some third-hand account, but I think there’s something to it.)

  28. SKL April 4, 2014 at 2:48 am #

    OK, I had it wrong. Amy Chua, The Triple Package. The three traits common to highly successful groups in the USA are:

    Superiority Complex
    Insecurity
    Impulse control

    Sorry, I remembered the “insecurity” part but forgot the “superiority” part.

    The 8 most successful groups she picked out are listed below, but the concept applies to others with similar characteristics, especially in the first couple of generations in the USA.

    Jewish
    Indian
    Chinese
    Iranian
    Lebanese-Americans
    Nigerians
    Cuban exiles
    Mormons

  29. katie April 4, 2014 at 7:37 am #

    I don’t know why people think getting into a or multiple Ivy Leagues schools is the end all be all of life.

    I know a number of people who went to Ivy league schools and most of them haven’t been particularly successful. They often refuse to do routine tasks. For example one of my friends lived at home for a 1.5 years after graduating Cornell and I’m pretty sure is now still mainly supported by her parents or a trust fund.

    Why can’t she get a permanent job? Well her helicopter parents never pushed her to do things. She won’t do any job that requires her to answer the phone, as she thinks that is too difficult and other such tasks.

    I also know people who didn’t go to college at all that have done quite well. So perhaps helicopter parenting will help you get into the Ivies, but it won’t help you in life.

  30. SKL April 4, 2014 at 9:27 am #

    I had an MBA classmate who went to one of those fancy schools prior to MBA. An engineering undergrad. His sister had a similar background. When they were visiting, we bought our first VCR player (yeah, that was a long time ago) and someone suggested that since my classmate was an engineer, he should install it while I was doing some work in the kitchen. After some minutes, both he and his sister were completely stumped. The instructions had a big “1, 2, 3″ – there were literally 3 steps – I put it together immediately without straining my brain or my body, LOL. This is probably the first time I saw first-hand that higher education is no substitute for practical experience. It never occurred to me that something so simple could be hard for any graduate student.

    Another thing. Today I was reading some comments on another site about this guy’s applications. They say he had a good essay. That made me wonder if his “helicopter parents” wrote his essay, or hired an expert to do it. Most of my foreign-born classmates assumed that everyone had their parents fill out their applications, including their essays. I had friends who didn’t even know what their essay said. This again came as a shock to me. The idea of even having my parents read my essay before sending it had never even crossed my mind. The application process was 100% my responsibility – even when I was 16. Same thing for the financial aid request (except I did need my parents’ tax return under a certain age).

  31. J- April 4, 2014 at 10:18 am #

    @Havva: You are welcome. I stopped apologizing a long time ago for how I was raised. My parents worked hard, wanted to give me the best advantages, and rather than buy luxury cars or go on week long cruises, sent me to a $14K/year private school. I’m very glad they did. As a child I was diagnosed ASD (autism spectrum of disorders) and was placed in a public school special ed program. I was given a remedial education and was miserable. My parents put me in a montessori school until the 7th grade and a parochial college prep school after that. At age 27 I picked up a PhD in Materials/Biomedical Engineering. Not bad for a kid that the Miami-Dade public school system said would never be more than a mall janitor.

    @hineata: Coming out of the school that I did, I toured the Ivy’s. You are right, a student there almost never sees a prof until their senior year. I spend a week and MIT and then bailed, because for $45K/year, every core class (chem, physics, calc) was taught by a grad student in a lecture hall of 200 freshmen. Most of the time the grad students didn’t even speak English as a first language. I ended up going to a very small (1500 student) top-rated engineering school and loved it.

    I have read several exposes on how the Ivy Leagues don’t teach anymore. If you are smart enough to get in, you teach yourself most of the material from the books. What you are getting by going there is connections. Access to jobs and cliques that can only be had by getting a degree from a handful of schools. I think the best I have ever read was this:

    http://theamericanscholar.org/the-disadvantages-of-an-elite-education/#.Uz665vldXw8

  32. Neil M April 4, 2014 at 10:29 am #

    Call me cynical, but IMO 95% is not only good enough; in this world, it’s better than you’re likely to get. Criminy.

  33. Dusty April 4, 2014 at 11:24 am #

    This just happens to be one of the kids that didn’t rebel against his overbearing parents! Now are they gonna be at college with him making his food, doing his laundry, and telling him what to do next? How do these kids make it on their own in adulthood. My husband has helicopter parents, notice I said has! That hasn’t changed! But I had to teach him to do laundry and cook a few basic things! I mean come on!

  34. SKL April 4, 2014 at 11:59 am #

    J, that was a great link. I went to the nearest “good” law school, not an Ivy, but one that had a lot of students who missed the Ivy cutoffs – and others, like me, who were working class / middle class folks just trying to get an education. So it was an interesting mixture. I definitely experienced that distinctive “oh” when asked what I’d done for undergrad.

    I was one of those people who could never stop thinking about the “big questions,” often to the detriment of my immediate tasks. I didn’t do super in law school, but I did well enough, and I really enjoyed the experience (except for the tests!).

    That article is a good reminder to be careful with my own kids. It is so easy to push just a little more to get that next distinction. A little more focus, it’s not that hard. But then do they have enough time to really think? What about the hours I spent as a kid, just walking or riding my bike around the neighborhood, my mind somewhere far away, or the time I spent alone in my bedroom, contemplating “the world according to SKL,” etc.? Or was all of that a waste of time, since I never really did much with it once “real life” set in? Or will it all come back when I’m retired and my kids are grown? Will it enable me to have conversations with my growing kids that broaden their minds? To what end? Which things will matter in the long run? Hard to say.

  35. Donna April 4, 2014 at 12:42 pm #

    “Today I was reading some comments on another site about this guy’s applications. They say he had a good essay. That made me wonder if his “helicopter parents” wrote his essay, or hired an expert to do it.”

    Or maybe just had a really interesting tale to tell. While I am a decent writer, I always kinda felt at a disadvantage in the college essay writing realm compared to kid who had a good hook. I just had an average, kinda milquetoast childhood. No great obstacles to overcome. No great adventures to detail. While a truly gifted storyteller can spin average into a great yarn, most of us are not truly gifted storytellers.

    That said, I don’t see why so many here feel the need to knock this kid, the Ivies or his accomplishment. Getting into all the Ivies is exceedingly rare and Ivy education was obviously important to him for whatever reason. Good on him. I hope he is able to attain everything he wants to attain.

  36. SKL April 4, 2014 at 1:56 pm #

    Donna, I’m a good writer too, and maybe this kid is as well. But given that this kid says he has helicopter parents, and given the trend I’ve observed among foreign-born parents of students in US universities, and considering that there is a thriving industry focused on getting kids into fancy schools, it’s very possible that he didn’t accomplish all this alone.

    I’m sure he’s a great kid, smart, hard-working, and all that. Not knocking him. I’m just pointing out a cultural reality that may apply to him.

    And, it’s not exceedingly rare to get into the ivies. The acceptance rates are not *that* low compared to the number of people who set their sights on getting in.

  37. BL April 5, 2014 at 9:59 am #

    “He also needed help with his laundry, and I hear he quit trying to learn and took big sack of laundry back to mom once a month.”

    I don’t get this at all. I don’t think I’d ever done laundry before going to college, either. When I got there, I took the clothes to a coin-op laundry, read the directions posted on the wall, and did it. What’s so damn hard?

    Unless you just can’t read. My parents did teach me that, before I ever saw the inside of a schoolroom. Does that count as “helicoptering”? (rolls eyes)

    I COULD have taken the laundry home each weekend. It was only an hour’s drive away. But there’s fun stuff to do on a college campus on weekends. Or at least there was then.

  38. BNK April 5, 2014 at 1:49 pm #

    I read Ms. Skenazy’s column today and found a description of how I unwittingly raised my daughter. She has become what some parents seem to want, since she went to an Ivy League school and is now pursuing her Ph.D. in a scientific field.

    Her father and I never had any kind of goal for her other than to be a happy and healthy
    individual, which she is today. But I did draw the line many times. For example, I saw parents providing continuous entertainment for their kids. If they were bored for one second, off they would go to some enriching activity. When my daughter complained she was bored, I gave her a broom and told her to sweep the floor. She would quickly come up with something that she found more interesting, and I would find her in her room, listening to Mozart and making up her own alphabet. I could hardly believe the creativity and intelligence which came from herself, and it continues to amaze. But that is not really the point, which has been put into words for me: “… we share the belief that our kids should be grateful, engaged, and kind. And that they’ve all got the goods to be “successful” — however you define it.”

    One year my daughter had a teacher who favored children with disabilities and seemed mostly annoyed with the kids who breezed through. It wasn’t the best situation for her, but I didn’t change anything, since life is not always a breeze, correct? I wanted her to learn from real life.

    Today she is doing what she loves, and she only knows it that way. Of course, we loved and protected her, but not by micromanaging her, ever. Now she turns around and encourages me in my endeavors, which are very different from hers and will not be winning a Nobel prize any time soon! But she knows that is not the only prize in town.

    I love that these ideas have been put into words. I could never say what it was, but Ms. Skenazy gives it some definition. Thank you!

  39. SKL April 5, 2014 at 2:53 pm #

    As I read and think about this topic – what we want for our future adults and how it can happen – I always come back to: there isn’t any specific thing I want my kids to do. I do not “want” them to go or not go to an “Ivy League” school. I think honestly my biggest fear would be that they would not know what *they* want to do when the time comes to fill out college applications.

  40. Jennifer April 6, 2014 at 1:09 am #

    I don’t think that helicopter parents will become preferred by employers.

    Getting a job is about the first thing that a helicoptered young adult does where it’s all about what they can do for someone else. The pre-university school system is about the kids – the whole point of it is to educate children, and they are the centre of the system. Extracurricular activities, lessons, sports – the parents pay the bills, and have a fair amount of say. In university – the parents are still often paying the bills, and the university has a vested interest in attracting the top scoring students, who coincidentally tend to belong to the well to do parents who have money to spend and are paying the bills. (Picture a helicopter parent telling their 18 year old they need to pay their own way through university…).

    But a job is largely about what the employee can do for the employer. Having an employee who collapses when faced with any sort of difficulty, or whose parents phone up and berate you because you were ‘mean’ to them, or gets sulky because they don’t like the work they’re assigned is a problem employee, not a benefit.

    I saw a letter to an advice column recently that illustrated this. A young man, just out of university and at his first job, was frustrated because his employer “didn’t recognize his potential” and was giving him tasks that he found boring, and was contemplating tattling on what he saw as employees of lesser worth. It simply didn’t occur to him that 1) his employer doesn’t care about his potential – all they care about is his actual, 2) He doesn’t know everything about everyone else’s jobs and 3) as the most junior employee in the business, he needs to prove that he’s dependable and competent and willing to work – he has to do some boring stuff to get to a higher position. And his grades and SAT scores have very little to do with how his employer regards him.

  41. SOA April 6, 2014 at 10:25 am #

    I agree also on the laundry and chores thing. I have argued about it on this board before. I don’t make my kids do housework and I never will. That is my job as a SAHM. They can do it to earn extra money or favors but typically that is not their job. Their job is keeping their stuff picked up and doing their schoolwork and behaving. I was raised the same way.

    So yes, when I got out of high school I did not know how to do a lot of things but it took my Dad a total of 30 minutes to teach me to do laundry. Done. Now I am quite good at it-minus the ironing. I hate ironing but we bought a steamer for that and we really don’t need clothes that have to be ironed as we don’t wear those type of clothing.

    I figured out how to dust, mop, sweep, clean windows, etc all by myself no big deal. I did not even need anyone to show me how.

    The only thing I wish I had more instruction on was cooking. I still have not quite figured that out but I also probably just don’t have any natural talent for it either. Some people don’t. I can make some things. Enough to feed my kids and myself and that is good enough for me.

    So I never buy into this “OH if you graduate high school and have never done all the chores you will be a useless adult blah blah blah”. Because I am living proof it is not true. As a matter of fact before I had kids I was a freaking clean freak and my house was so clean at all times you could eat off the floor. Now with kids it is not that clean, but its clean enough. I make sure it is spotless before we have guests come over and they always remark on how clean it is. Good enough for me.

    You can learn to do that stuff pretty easily. It is not rocket science.

  42. SKL April 6, 2014 at 1:10 pm #

    SOA: “you can learn how to do that stuff easily enough.” Yes, but only if you know how to learn and how to problem-solve. And while perhaps some people are naturally wired for this, others do need to have some real-life experience, preferably before it really matters. While I don’t doubt your personal anecdote, there are plenty of equally credible anecdotes where the transition did not go so smoothly.

    I remember teaching more than one woman how to do laundry in grad school. I also had to teach one friend how to hold a broom. Changing sheets was also quite a conundrum for some. I don’t think any of it is rocket science, but I am glad that it was all a no-brainer for me at that stage of life, because I had been doing it long enough before leaving home. I could focus on more important things, such as managing my commutes, study time, new relationships, student jobs, etc.

    Another thing is that if you have a good sense for those things, you can save time and money, both of which tend to be important for young adults. It can also be an advantage socially.

    I remember visiting a guy who had been my grad school classmate. He was now working and living in his own condo. He offered me a drink and I asked for a glass of water. He went over to the sink and pulled out a glass that had been soaking in the mucky water, dumped it out, filled it, and handed it to me to drink. I proceeded to teach him how to wash dishes. Blech.

  43. Justine Raphael April 6, 2014 at 7:59 pm #

    Look, getting into all the Ivies is sort of a party trick…he can only go to one, they are very different schools, so he obviously has no really strong feelings about any discipline if every school is a fine choice for him.

    Contrast that with a kid with a deep passion they have been pursuing for years and that leads them to the perfect institution to further this study…the one that fits this student to a t. Ivy or not, that’s the right choice, and may be better than a scattershot approach (each of those applications cost a lot of money and stand for a fair amount of effort)

    My son is in the latter category, free range, homeschooled since 1st grade–actually UNschooled–he has been sailing since he was four. He’s been really into knots, then moved into pure math and is now consumed with physics and astronomy, and applied math. He applied to one school, early decision. He got into that school. It’s a top ten sailing school with incredibly strong math and sciences. Does it matter that it’s an Ivy? To him, to us, not really. It was the right school.

    Or is he planning on writing a book? Cause it’s not about being a well prepared person, in my mind. It’s just an intellectual publicity stunt. The Ivy League is a sports league, a brand. It’s not a guarantee of success, or of anything, really.

  44. SOA April 7, 2014 at 7:06 am #

    I told my husband about this and his response was “If he was good enough to get into one IVY then probably the other IVYs was not much different.” Which is a good point. Maybe he is just the first person to waste their time and money applying for every single one of them.

  45. Rebecca April 7, 2014 at 2:39 pm #

    They may have pushed him to succeed, but I can’t help but wonder if they pushed him to think.
    My first thought upon hearing this story was “Who applies to all Ivy League schools?” They are vastly different one from another, and college choice depends on many subjective preferences and ideas.

  46. Julie April 8, 2014 at 3:27 pm #

    I overheard an interesting conversation during a sleepover a few weekends ago at my house. My daughter was just turing 14 and her group of girlfriends is very high achievers. Their parents are very Helicopter. Her school is IB. The parents call starting the first day of sixth grade worried about National Jr. Honor Socity and take it to appeal if their kid doesnt make it. ( My kid didnt make it I did not appeal) Annnnny way. These girls were telling my daughter their entire life’s plans. Then acting utterly shocked when my 14 year old said.” I am not sure. I really enjoyed staging this summer at a restraunt and may go to France and do the cullinary thing or I may do law school..I havent really decided” They about had her in tears because she had no future plans! Then she said. ” Well the one thing I do know is when I do know what i want to do It will be because I want to do it; not because mommy and daddy have told from the time I was inutero what college I was going to go to and what I could do to make them proud.”