I want to thank you all for helping to bring me back from temporary insanity, as displayed in my post about private high schools. I assure you, we aren’t those parents. Our parental motto, from the beginning, has been “Smart is easy. Good is hard.” None of my experience so far has led me to doubt that simple truth.
But it happens every year about this time. Seeing how much money we’re paying, and how much more it will be when they get to high school (both kids at the same time, mind you), makes you go into some heavy introspection. Are we doing the right thing? What are we getting out of this? What if, after all this worry and sacrifice, one or both of them rejects everything about us and gets tattooed, pierced, and moved in with some guy named Razorhead?
Deep down, I know we can’t worry about these things. They belong to God, He just put them in our care for a little while. We cannot mold them into our dreams. We must let them grow into theirs.
Also, there’s the practical aspect. It’s my understanding that after 8 to 10 years, the advantage of having gone to an Ivy League school (as opposed to State U) disappears (all things being equal). I could never in my wildest dreams afford Vanderbilt, much less Harvard. Besides, if you went by our kids’ dreams right now, their choice of careers would mean that Ivy League just wouldn’t make sense (Trillian would major in Animal Science or Pre-vet – therefore the University of Tennessee is a great choice; Zaphod literally wants to be a rocket scientist (or at least an Aviation Engineer), therefore any school with a good engineering department would be the best fit).
But, keep in mind, they are 9 and 10. In two or three years, Trillian might want to be a mathematician and Zaphod might want to write the great American novel. So, it’s folly to worry about such things right now.
Coumpounding things, in the back of my mind, I have to remember that being a high-Achieving Asian will actually, possibly, hurt them in admissions – even though culturally my kids are about as Asian as Issac Hayes. But once again, I can’t worry about these things right now.
Last May, they had an awards ceremony at school. There were about 3 or 4 extremely high acheivers in each grade, and our kids weren’t in that group. As little Johnny Braniac won the 4th grade award for acheivement in Math (his 5th award of the night), Lintilla whispered in my ear, “What’s wrong with our kids?” At that moment, I must admit, I shared the sentiment.
You see how pervasive this is? We talked about it later that night. Both of our kids are Duke Tip Scholars, both have ITBS scores that guage their academic levels as about 4 grades above their current grade level, both are healthy, happy children with loves for potty humor and country music. We have children who do not talk back (much) and never get into trouble with other adults. But because they weren’t the absolute best, we felt inadequate as parents.
I need for my pastor to turn away for a moment bcause I have something important to say:
OK, I feel better.
I guess my original question was more of a financial one than anything: are the extra dollars for the harder schools worth it? Lord knows, depending on the school, we may have a very hard time paying for it. But you know what? The conclusion I’ve come to is this: we should save for the most expensive schools we can, and when the time comes choose the correct ones for our children.
If they happen to be the less expensive ones, we’ll use that money to go to Disney World.