PRIDE: Overweening and College Cheating

The Seven-Deadly-Sin-Makers believed Pride was sin numero uno from which all others arose.

But why? Isn’t it good to be confident? Yes, but it’s another to be so prideful that you think rules don’t apply to you. This week, as we look at the college admissions cheating scandal that ensnared Felicity Huffman (noooooo!) in its web, among many others, we see why pride/ hubris/ narcissism/ vanity and other ego-related sins can lead to bad outcomes—and how to check yourself before you wreck yourself.

Dana explains why this scandal is the perfect illustration of the book she’s working on: The Parenting Paradox. Paradoxically, the more anxious a parent is about their child’s achievement—and the more that anxiety drives them to push their kids, pull strings, and bend reality to accommodate their dreams for that child—the less that parent is actually helping set that child up for a successful life of autonomy, responsibility, and resilience in the face of all that life inevitably throws all of us.

The belief that as a parent you can shield your child from all disappointment, failure, harm, and challenge is a form of pride that usually (always?) backfires, which is so hard! (See our episode on SEPARATION for more on this letting go thing!)

As we discuss the college admissions scandal, Amy wrestles with the question of how much help for your kids is the fair amount to them and to the system. Dana offers a pretty useful framework about what’s fair to the individual child, which partially addresses what’s fair to the system at large.

Let us know your thoughts about how much it’s fair to help your own children. Should you do everything you can afford to help them get ahead? Should you hold back? Is any measure acceptable as long as it’s legal? What’s your individual responsibility to address systemic inequities? We want to hear your thoughts (and actions!) on this complex topic.

(For inquiries about publishing Dana’s book)