|By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 03:38 pm: Edit|
|By Carolyn (Carolyn) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 04:13 pm: Edit|
Great article, Rhonda, thanks. And very timely: I had just hung up the phone after talking to an acquaintance who is agonizing over moving her son to a new high school...his third switch in three years ...because she can not find the "perfect" school, even though he has been in two of the top-ranked schools in our local area. I think I will pass this along to her.
|By Lamom (Lamom) on Tuesday, October 05, 2004 - 08:29 pm: Edit|
It was great. Thanks.
|By Cheers (Cheers) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 02:41 am: Edit|
Once you have your feelings under control, it is best to avoid maximizing topics with maximizers, like where to go on vacation or which college will set you up to win a Nobel Prize.
Uh oh. Not a good look for CC, is it?
|By Cangel (Cangel) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 07:52 am: Edit|
We ARE the Maximizers - it could be a slogan, or a song by Queen
|By Achat (Achat) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 07:58 am: Edit|
Great article. Thanks.
|By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 08:53 am: Edit|
Lol, I had the same thought about "maximizers!"
BTW, the rest of the thread title, which was obviously too long, was "book by Swat prof"
|By Weenie (Weenie) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 08:58 am: Edit|
That is a great article and I think I'll buy the book! It's particularly appropriate for me because my boys are very laid back and they are both easily pleased. The one who is a senior has liked ALL the schools we've looked at, is not at all concerned about the college process, and just goes through life happy and carefree. It's me that is the over-analyzer. Sometimes I think my kids can afford to be carefree because I'm the one doing all the worrying! My senior would probably just as soon apply ED to his first choice (Denison) and be done with it, but I stress about money and choices and blah blah blah. It is encouraging though to have some suggestions on how to get on with it and not look back.
His last point about changing the topic (conversations with maximizers) is something most of us probably learned talking with other parents from way back when. I never really talk about my kids with my friends; it just always feels like there's too much "comparing." I think CC gets a little too much that way once in a while too (maybe even worse among the kids).
|By Weenie (Weenie) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 09:05 am: Edit|
Sorry to post twice, but I just got thinking - maybe this explains why so many kids on StudentsReview.com are so miserable about the seemingly good (or even great) colleges they attend.
|By Momofthree (Momofthree) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 10:18 am: Edit|
Great article. More from Barry Schwartz can be found in the following:
|By Voronwe (Voronwe) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 11:25 am: Edit|
"I have interacted with college students for many years as a professor, and in my experience, students who think they're in the right place get far more out of a particular school than students who don't. Conviction that they have found a good fit makes students more confident, more open to experience, and more attentive to opportunities."
|By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 11:40 am: Edit|
From the longer article by Barry Schwartz:
>> Whereas it may be possible to settle for a good enough car, a good enough stereo, a good enough 401(k), even a good enough job, have you ever heard anyone say that "I only want what's 'good enough' for my kids"? I haven't. When it comes to our kids, only the best will do.>>
There's an old French saying: "Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien" [The best is the enemy of good enough].
|By Originaloog (Originaloog) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 12:27 pm: Edit|
I have read BS's book and another thing he mentions is the difficulty many people have with the sheer number of choices we encounter every day, from the 50 varieties of soup in the local super mercado to the college choices our children face. Some enjoy the overabundancy others are immobilized by it.
Many parents are the ones who are the major contributers to their children's unhappiness. Children who are over indulged, over scheduled, over praised, over rewarded, over protected and whose talents are over estimated are not being prepared for a happy and satisfying life by their parents.
Look at any HS year book and the teeth of almost every student are picket fence straight, many as a result of expensive orthodonture(?). Our son's teeth were mildly out of wack and we(me mom and him)decided that it was not significant enough to correct. A small compromise which has not impacted his self image or social life one iota(he was voted cutest boy in the m-band three years straight). And he used it as the basis for his college essay too.
|By Originaloog (Originaloog) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 01:31 pm: Edit|
Marite, that saying is an interesting sound bite but is not one that I would want as a guide for every decision I encounter.
Achieving the "best" also entails costs. For our children what does it mean for them to be the best academically? Valedictorian? Then at what cost? If student A can achieve a 4.0 gpa with a few normal hours of study per night while student B needs to study 6 hours per night, sacrifice varsity baseball which he loves, grovel for extra points on exams and resort to palgiarism for that research paper A, is it worth the cost for student B?
We want our children to go to the best HS. At what cost? Student A in an inner city public school may be physically in danger or may be subjected to peer pressure to sacrifice academic achievement in order to not appear to be "White" while mom/dad may have to work 2 job to afford tuition for the neighborhood parochial school. Student b may be able to attend a find suburban public school, but at a local prep school the top 10% of its graduates are accepted into the top 25 colleges. However to afford the tuition we will have to liquidate our retirement savings account. And what if this student, who would have been a top 10% student in his public school, is only a top 30% student in the prep school? Is it now worth the cost or what is the cost?
And often it is difficult to even define best. What is the "best" car. Some would argue that it is a Rolls Royce, others a Ferrari, others a Courvette, others(myself included) a Hyundai. The standard used to make these remarkably different choices might be luxury, design, performance or economy, with each standard being a valid one for a particular person.
And for students, who defines best? A parent who wants to proudly display the Stanford car decal or the student who would prefer to attend Oberlin College because of its social activism, housing co-ops and the chance to meet kindred spirits?
And what is best lesson we teach our children? Buying her a new VW beetle on the day she gets her drivers license or telling her that she must come up with 50% of the money to buy that '96 Honda Civic with 143,000 miles on the odometer?
The lives of our children are stressful enough as it is. To insist that they strive for the best in every aspect of their lives is not healthy. At this stage in their development having time for a best friend is more important than studying an extra 6 hours to get the best grade on the CalcAP midterm exam.
|By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 01:46 pm: Edit|
You need to read Schwartz's article, then you'll see the relevance of the French saying. Basically, Schwartz is amplifying on a very old French saw.
|By Mstee (Mstee) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 01:55 pm: Edit|
Originaloog--had to laugh at your post, as I have been obsessively looking at everyone's teeth lately, as we just switched orthodontists. Decided to keep going with treatment for the snaggle toothed 11 year old, but not do "phase 2" (braces) for the 15 year old, whose teeth now look pretty good, though not perfect by an orthodontist's standards, I suppose. I noticed that in older TV programs and movies, everyone's teeth are not perfectly straight, whereas nowadays, all the models and movie stars (the younger ones, anyway) have perfect teeth. Too perfect.
|By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 02:02 pm: Edit|
Getting a little OT, but on the perfect teeth issue. My D had one tooth that was a little off (behind rest of teeth) and it was apparently genetic as her father and grandmother and paternal aunt had the same thing and none of them had it fixed. Well, grandmother now is having significant dental problems related to the tooth, as is maternal aunt. Something to do with it being further back, close to or at edge of the roof of the mouth.
Glad I spent the $$ on D's tooth (and took her to ENDLESS number of appointments) even though rest of teeth were very straight. Cosmetically, it looks a little better, but not significantly different.
And remember, a lot of older people didn't hang on to their teeth for life!
|By Alongfortheride (Alongfortheride) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 02:04 pm: Edit|
Originaloog, I interpret Marite's quote in a different light. I think the interpretation in this quote can be quite personal, depending upon how your define "best." For me "best" is reaching your personal potential. For my son, it was about ending up in a place that was "best" for him. I do think that once the deposit is made, the comparison shopping should end and the emphasis should be on adjusting to the institution you are enrolled in. However, since many students are heading off to graduate school, it only helps to collect what bits of information fall their way during their undergrad years.
I don't think a majority of posters on the parents forum lock their children into their rooms at night and push food under the door while they study and practice their musical instruments. Many have children who need the stimulation that a challenging academic program offers. My son was one. The harder the classes were, the better his grades were, not because he spent more time, but because he was more interested. You talk about choices parents make. I don't think there is a way to qualify the choices a caring and loving parent makes in what they believe to be the best interest of a child.
As for the expensive orthodonture, I was only too happy to pay the money, and I get rewarded every time I benefit from their smile and the dentist says their oral health is great because their bite is correct. Message here is that it's not always about the looks. It's just a perk.
Rhonda and Weenie, I too know several "maximizers." I'm ok with comparing schools or reviews of the high school play, but I do get uncomfortable comparing kids. I avoid those maximmizers that always have to get one up and can never be happy for my kids or other great kids in the community. I just love to see and be around great kids and love to give them credit where credit is due. I truly think that most people are like this. There just always seem to be - for the lack of a better term - stage parents.
|By Lfill (Lfill) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 02:05 pm: Edit|
The point is not striving for the best, it's striving for their best. Much has been written about the baby boomer's quest for their children's happiness having created an unmotivated, entitled generation. In my opinion, a balance must be achieved. We'll have a lot of adults in the next few decades wondering why their childhood happiness wasn't sustainable.
|By Thedad (Thedad) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 02:07 pm: Edit|
I tend towards a lot of triage: when is striving for "the best" necessary, when is "pretty good" good enough, and when is "the best you can get without strenuous effort" acceptable.
It's one thing if it's my D's education, it's another if it's my car, and yet a third if I'm looking for a parking place for my car, unless I'm in Boston, in which case the answer is "anyone I can get."
|By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 02:11 pm: Edit|
I did not have braces growing up and I regret it very much. The lack of alignment of my teeth is probably costing more in dental surgery now than braces would have cost when I was a teenager. It was my experience that led me to have my kids go for braces. It's more than cosmetics.
Rhonda: When we moved to London in the mid 70s, one of the first TV documentaries we watched was called "Scots That Ha' Nae Teeth." Apparently, a combination of sweet tooth and lack of dental care had led to a shocking 40% of Scots over the age of 40 having no teeth.
|By Mstee (Mstee) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 02:24 pm: Edit|
Okay, point taken. I will check with new orthodontist, to make sure that 15 year old's bite is what it should be . . . I have heard that having a bite that is "off" can cause your teeth to wear out early. I love this forum. So much thoughtful advice on everything. I made sure my S got his meningitis shot because of this forum. . .
LOL, Thedad, "the best you can get without strenuous effort" seems to be my new motto, as I get older and "tireder". The orthodontist switch was to save myself from that horrendously long drive to the perfect orthodontist. And now I've found a piano teacher two blocks away that is "good enough" for my six year old (although after a couple of lessons, I am happy to be finding out that she is very much more than "good enough" . . .)
|By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 02:25 pm: Edit|
Along -- I agree with you about the one-upmanship regarding kids. I recall during senior year of HS there were certain parents I dreaded seeing b/c I knew the only topic of discussion would be SAT scores, applications, ECs, etc. I do think there are a few people on this board who seem incapable of posting a message w/o bragging about their kids, but it's a little easier to take on a discussion board b/c you can just ignore those posts.
|By Alongfortheride (Alongfortheride) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 02:59 pm: Edit|
Rhonda, perhaps someone needs to start an Emily Post type thread on the fine line between being proud parent and being an obnoxious bragging parent! Seriously, it is an uncomfortable area for me. I often say or post things and five minutes later start second guessing myself on whether or not it was ok to say. Result is that I say less and less. Maybe that's a good thing.
It's funny how I don't dread talking to most people about the choice my son made in colleges. I don't judge their kids choices. All had excellent reasons to head off where they did. I just find that, for instance, when friends call who are like the parents you mentioned, I unconsciously start putting a "good spin" on everything. When I hang up or walk away, I think, "Why did I do that? My son is so happy at his school and made such a good choice. It is a great school!" Then I feel ashamed for having felt pressured. Perhaps I, like Weenie, should read further into Schwartz's theories on "satisficing."
|By Cheers (Cheers) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 04:05 pm: Edit|
Children who are over indulged, over scheduled, over praised, over rewarded, over protected and whose talents are over estimated are not being prepared for a happy and satisfying life by their parents.
Okay, okay! I'm putting mine out with the dogs as soon as they get home from school! Crikey!
the best you can get without strenuous effort
Isn't this the Ladism Refrain? It's certainly the motto of many lads I know. However, getting by without strenuous effort is probably an indulgence for the clever.
It is possible to be very successful without killing oneself--if one is terribly clever. Tough to do if one is not clever.
|By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 04:53 pm: Edit|
Cheers -- I think "killing oneself" is an overstatement, even if not taken literally. I agree that most successful people work hard (and I'll refrain from making a snide debate reference here), but it doesn't have to be all-engrossing, back-breaking effort.
|By Lfill (Lfill) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 05:05 pm: Edit|
Alongfortheride, I don't know your situation, but I'll take a guess. Did your son not get into the most selective schools and everyone knows he applied? Recently I asked a friend if she knew why someone I had been fairly close to wasn't returning my calls. After some hesitation she told me that some people were uncomfortable with me now that my son was at his top choice and their kids were not accepted at ivys. I was stunned. I'm still unsure how to handle this. Have people made you feel bad?
|By Dmd77 (Dmd77) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 05:18 pm: Edit|
Lfill, I'll bite on this one. I have a son at MIT. That's bad enough for some people right there. But it gets worse: he skipped his senior year of HS and went when he was 16. (Turned 17 at the end of Sept, but still.)
So a certain group of friends have 19-year-old sons who are HS seniors. Mostly it's because they started K late. BUT: every single time I see them: "I wish my son would be more like yours..." "How's your genius son?" and so on. What the heck am I supposed to say? "I'm not proud of my kid"? It'd be a lie anyway. So I feel definitely cut off from some kinds of conversation. Mostly I just say "he misses his cat" or something equally braindead. That seems to lighten the mood a little.
But the fact is, some of our friends DO in fact resent that he's managed to pull this off when their kids haven't. I wish they didn't... I do wish they'd consider that my son has some pretty hard things to deal with, too, like his father's cancer. It's not all roses. So, unfortunately, I have no good answer. Sooner or later, your son will not get something and their kids will, and maybe things will get better.... and maybe they won't.
|By Dadofsam (Dadofsam) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 06:00 pm: Edit|
Dmd77: not a pleasant situation when that happens, but try not to despair. First of all, IMHO you don't need a good answer. Your son is who he is; their sons are who they are. Miss Manners would probably tell your friends (should they ask her) that even though it may be (or may be said to be) human nature, it's socially improper to make such comparisons. To meet MM's standards your friends should express pleasure in your son's accomplishments and stop there.
If you feel that you need a disarming response, how about something like this. "Yes, but I was a bit worried that being younger than his classmates, he might have a few social problems. And most of the freshman girls will be older than him."
|By Sokkermom (Sokkermom) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 06:01 pm: Edit|
Don't you think it is rather pathetic that the basis of a so called "relationship" is premised on the decision as to where your kids go to college ? That is the most ridiculous thing that I have ever heard. Believe it or not, many kids have no interest in ivy league schools and do not consider themselves failures if they pick schools that they like better. Maybe some parents consider themselves inadequate if their kid is not attending a certain college. I think that is often referred to as vicarious living. The kids will move on, hopefully Mom and Dad can.
If I remember correctly, Alongfortheride's child is attending a wonderful school and is probably extremely happy with that choice! Somehow I can't see many real people surrounding themselves with "friends" who are uncomfortable with their kids college choices. Their true friends are probably very happy and proud,no matter what the kids do. I actually have very good friends whose kid goes to a community college (gasp!). We all celebrated when the acceptance letter arrived.
|By Lfill (Lfill) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 06:26 pm: Edit|
Most of you have probably heard the story about the guy who had his firm donate a million dollars to the pre-school his kids were applying to. Welcome to the sick, competitive world of education in NYC. The scramble for the best schools begins when your kids are 3 or 4 and doesn't end until they are safely ensonced at Harvard Business School. While NY is probably the most over the top, friends and family all over the Country report similar tales. When I told my husband about the friend who is no longer, his response was "oh, of course, I totally downplay our kids at the office." He said when asked where our kids go to school, he replys NJ and NH, rather than school names! People assume they go to pathetic schools and don't further pry. This is sad.
|By Searchingavalon (Searchingavalon) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 06:48 pm: Edit|
Having gone to the dentist this morning--*I* think I'm too old for cavities but my teeth don't agree--I've said all I'm going to say about teeth. I'm going to talk about shoes instead. Many years ago, I went shoe-shopping with a friend, for the first and last time. She tried on one pair which fit, was appropriate for her needs, and that she liked. She then went on to half a dozen more stores and dozens more shoes. Needless to say, perhaps, she ended up buying that first pair of shoes. I swear--I had a nightmare about shoes & shoe-shopping that night. Me, I buy the first pair of shoes that is comfortable, looks nice, and is suitable for whatever occasion/s I need new shoes for. Yes, there might be a better shoe out there in the universe for my needs, but the pair I loved first will do just fine. Thankfully, D feels about colleges the way I do about shoes--she loves one best, and refuses to make herself crazy trying to see if there's another one of the 3,000 or whatever schools in the country that she might love just a little bit better.
|By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 07:15 pm: Edit|
Thanks for sharing those articles. I agree with much of what is said in them. I also believe that it is a wonderful skill and attribute to get the most out of whatever you end up getting and be happy about it.
I had to laugh about the stroller anecdote. I remember with my first child, I had my eye fixed on an expensive Perego (sp?) for some insane reason. We really could not afford it those days, but I really wanted that stroller. Then an acquaintance gave us an unused extra stroller she had which quashed my Perego plans. It was a Sears Roebuck, very unfashionable stroller, the last of the old timey strollers--you don't see any like it anymore, and I hated the thing. But my son loved it, was so attached to it, and one day when he was about 2, told me he had the "best stroller". He really did not like the other models. And after that stroller, I have absolutely no idea what other strollers I ended up getting for the other kids--it was not info important enough to even register. When I think about how I wanted that expensive, fashionable stroller so badly, it is embarrassing.
As for school, I can tell you that the best school for a child can vary greatly from child to child. Although an unsafe, inadequate school is wrong for any child, given a variety of "good" schools it really depends on the child and the school which ones are the best choices. My girls were very happy with their Catholic all girls highschools, for instance, whereas some girls would have hated the experience. I know a family right now who moved to live right near a private school after getting their kids in there, and are now in the situation where it is not working out for two of their kids. It looks like the school of choice for the daughter is a school 15 miles away, closer to where they used to live. And that mom would given her right arm up gladly to get those kids into that school--I remember when she was going through the app process. It is a great school, but not a good match for her younger two kids. And sometimes it is happenchance that a school ends up being such a great match, or a bad experience. The right teacher, the timely introduction to a subject can make a big difference in a child's life. The wrong combination of events could really do the opposite. I know one mom who picked S's school because of its record in getting kids into a particular ivy that she wanted for her kid. Well, she did not take into account the number of alums from that college happen to have kids at that school which does affect admissions to certain colleges. And if your kid is not in that group, well, the odds are not going to apply to him. It may even work against the kid's advantage to be in such an illustrious peer group with so many kids applying to the same schools.
|By Dmd77 (Dmd77) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 09:26 pm: Edit|
DadofSam: yes, Miss Manners and Carolyn Hax would both say that a true friend would be thrilled for my kid--without the jealousy. And since he's now a sophomore (no, I didn't make that clear), I've (almost) gotten used to the remarks. Unfortunately, he not only didn't have social problems, the girls adore him (for reasons that completely escape his sister). That's why I went with "He misses his cat." Lately, I can also say "he's appalled that I got a poodle." Which lets me talk about my newest "child." ;-)
|By Cheers (Cheers) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 10:03 pm: Edit|
Haha! Are you sure you're not lording you children's accomplishments over people?
I've decided to drop a friend from our party list because she bores everyone to tears with her incessant bragging about her son who is skipping junior and senior year and going into second year engineering. Mind you, she does have brilliant, internationally recognized children but her personal history (divorce, cancer)is a nightmare. I wouldn't trade. Give me my lads and their hundreds of wonderful friends any day of the week.
Life isn't particularily merit-based, IMHO. I was a terrible elemenatry school student, a pretty mediocre high school student and a meteoric architecture student.
My adult life has been full of happiness, loving friends, loving family, satisfaction and wealth.
Life is talent based, if you ask me. If you have the inborn talent and a bit of luck, chances are you'll find the happiness mix with just a little elbow grease.
|By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 10:29 pm: Edit|
>>Mind you, she does have brilliant, internationally recognized children but her personal history (divorce, cancer)is a nightmare. I wouldn't trade.>>
I'm not sure how to interpret this comment.
Having or not having cancer is not a character trait. Just last week, a neighbor of mine died of bone marrow cancer, leaving two children under the age of 10 and a pretty devastated husband. She had had happiness, loving friends, loving family, a degree of wealth, lots of talent and quite a bit of elbow grease. She also happened to have cancer.
|By Dmd77 (Dmd77) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 10:45 pm: Edit|
What, didn't you know that getting cancer is a choice? I mean, if you live right, eat the right things, stay out of the sun, don't smoke cigarettes, drink too much, drink too little, obviously you won't get it.
And the people who don't believe that appear to believe it's contagious.
At least, judging from how some of them act when they find out someone has cancer (at least based on how people treated my father and how they treat my husband).
Me bitter? Never.
|By Marite (Marite) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 10:54 pm: Edit|
(((Hugs to you)))
|By Dmd77 (Dmd77) on Wednesday, October 06, 2004 - 11:10 pm: Edit|
Marite: thanks! I needed that.
|By Momof2inca (Momof2inca) on Thursday, October 07, 2004 - 12:17 am: Edit|
I don't know about you guys, but I feel strange when friends or aquaintances ask where our son is applying. We're taking a trip back east in a week to visit five schools of the 8 on his list, three of which are very prestigious. I do not volunteer the names of the universities, just the cities, when people ask about our upcoming vacation (it coincides with a week-long fall break for our school district, so lots of people are going away on vacation).
But then they ask specifically which universities we're going to see. I want to say "I decline to state," but that would be rude. So I tell them and then feel really uncomfortable and say something like, "but he probably won't get in," because just the idea of applying to these schools seems like bragging, when most kids in our area go to community college or the state schools a few cities away.
Saying "but he probably won't get in" feels wrong to me too (even though statistically it's true!) because it is a put-down to our son. (I would never say that in front of him, and it feels wrong to say it behind his back.)
How does one go about this application process in a genuinely humble fashion? My strategy was to keep it as private as possible, but when people ask point-blank, what choice is there?
|By Jamimom (Jamimom) on Thursday, October 07, 2004 - 01:46 am: Edit|
It is a tricky issue. In S's school it is getting very testy. I don't ask but am asked by parents that I hardly know who know my son, or who have kids who know my son. I wouldn't mention the trip because that is a natural opener for the questions to begin with. There really is no way to keep mum if someone is really pushy about it, but you can avoid openers to the questions. I know I am not comfortable saying "none of your business" or even "I prefer not to say", so I just don't bring up things that are natural lead ins to the questions, and depending on direct questions asked either dodge them or answer them truthfully. Since S is applying to audition type schools, some of which are not well known, I sometimes just say that and there is a loss of interest usually followed by suggestions of Juilliard and NYU or other performing arts program as though anyone who is auditioning in this field is not aware of the best known programs.
|By Kjofkw (Kjofkw) on Thursday, October 07, 2004 - 08:57 am: Edit|
When asked what schools were on my son's list, I usually mentioned about 5-6 schools to which he was applying. It was a mix of our state U., a couple "unknown" colleges (typically ones not in our neck of the woods, but nontheless great schools), and maybe a "big-name" one. It was obvious we were looking at a mix. While he applied to 11, I don't think most people really wanted to hear the whole list, but were rather just curious. Naming off a range of schools (including our local State U -- which he was very serious about as well) also "validated" their own choice if they were only looking at the local state school.
We're still asked where he goes to school (CMU), and I am surprised at the responses (from "wow, that's a great school" to "what? never heard of them")
When asked about test scores, however, I politely used the answer a wise friend shared with us: "Comparing scores typically makes one of us feel bad, so I prefer not to do that."
|By Enjoyingthis (Enjoyingthis) on Thursday, October 07, 2004 - 09:27 am: Edit|
Kjnofkw-- that's a cute answer ("comparing scores typically makes one of us feel bad,") but does assume that anyone who hears somebody else's kid has a higher score than their own's will feel bad. I don't recall ever feeling "bad" to hear about somebody's superior score. And each of my three kids were topped by plenty of others. I figure each kid has his own package of talents and advantages and problems, and we're all just dealing with them as best we can. Reading these posts makes me feel grateful for our laidback NW lifestyle. We just aren't swimming in this same pool of competitiveness! I had to find the CC board for that!
|By Marite (Marite) on Thursday, October 07, 2004 - 09:37 am: Edit|
My S has never been asked about his scores or grades nor has he asked anyone. We also do not hear much about other students' college choices, let alone college searches. I'm getting quite an education on CC!
|By Alongfortheride (Alongfortheride) on Thursday, October 07, 2004 - 09:50 am: Edit|
Lfill, actually son is attending his first choice school. The folks in question are of the sort that any choice other than theirs is inferior. Just not the sort of people I prefer, and I get ashamed for biting on the bait.
|By Rhonda63 (Rhonda63) on Thursday, October 07, 2004 - 09:57 am: Edit|
I have never been specifically asked about my D's test scores, but certainly SATs and college applications generally were THE topic of conversation among the parents during HS senior year. Since D was at a private school, people lived all over, so we were not necessarily in the same neighborhood and I didn't really see them that often.
As for D attending a "prestigious school," I've seen both sides of this. I have one colleague at work who is a snob, although I think she would be shocked to hear that she is perceived that way. Her D goes to one of the best private schools in DC, known for attracting kids of wealthy liberals. She and I have worked together for about ten years, and she was never particularly interested in talking with me about anything non-work-related, until she heard my D was accepted to Brown. Since then she is CONSTANTLY asking how D is, what is she doing over the summer, etc etc. ugh.
However, others react differently. Another colleague I work with in another city asked where D was going to college (when the subject came up b/c I was going to be out of the office for a day or two to drop her off at school) -- turns out he has a D the same age. When I said Brown, he said "oh" and then proceeded to tell me his D applied there ED but was ultimately rejected b/c Brown only takes 2 kids from her private school every year (!!) and 3 applied that year ... and that she later got into Macalester and was then very happy she had not been admitted to Brown etc ... went on for five minutes, very defensive. I had no idea what to say, so I didn't say anything other than "Macalester is a great school, D was considering it too!"
I can't imagine dropping a real friend simply b/c her kid goes to a better school than your kid.
|By Bbmom (Bbmom) on Thursday, October 07, 2004 - 10:09 am: Edit|
My son excelled in high school. He was 2nd in his class, an excellent athlete, a talented actor, in student government, and won awards in many of these areas as well as scholarships. When they were announcing his accomplishments as salutatorian at graduation he looked like he wanted to get off the stage because they were talking so long. He was accepted at all the universities and colleges that he applied to-- many prestigious. He chose to stay in our hometown at a good university because it was right for him. He has four living grandparents and the ability to continue to see and interact with them and his other family was very important to him.
I have never never had any uncomfortable situations with other parents and they have always been very happy for him and eager to talk about his plans and aspirations. He is also very well liked and accepted by all types of students.
I think the key for him and us is that he is always very humble and gracious and we are always very interested in the other kids plans also.
|By Mstee (Mstee) on Thursday, October 07, 2004 - 10:16 am: Edit|
Generally not too awkward of a conversation here in CA. Most of the conversations are kind of humorous, actually. When he was planning to go to Grinnell, it was "Cornell? Oh that's great!" "No, Grinnell, a small school in Iowa." Puzzled looks followed. Now that he is going to UChicago, it is not that different. "Oh, wonderful. . .why is he going there? So far away!" "Oh, you know it's a good private school, strong in math. . ." puzzled looks follow . . . Always a joy to find someone who has any familiarity with these schools at all!
If there is any tension/competition here it centers more around Berkeley/UCLA/Stanford. S didn't apply to any of those, so it was/is N/A.
|By Lfill (Lfill) on Thursday, October 07, 2004 - 10:21 am: Edit|
What I've come to understand is all of this is just a matter of the culture you live in. In NYC, humble is perceived as passive-aggressive when it comes to talking about college plans. The sickness is firmly in place--pecking order (when everyone involved is affluent) comes down to those things you can't buy. So for the well to do, who can buy a better house than mine and a better vacation, the divide comes in that few of us can buy a top college admissions. It's so ugly sometimes to take a look at the world we live in.
|By Chinaman (Chinaman) on Thursday, October 07, 2004 - 10:30 am: Edit|
More than school or college, I care for my kids happiness. People do compare but one does not have to be bitter about it. I have seen some extremely intellegent kids, rtaher than compare I ask them what kind of interest they have, what make sthem go. Belive me if you ask a kid or parent about their accomplishments and ask their help, they will give you good advice. Learning from other is inexpensive and good thing. May good provide us company of intellegent people from whom we learn everyday so that we may also become better.
|By Cangel (Cangel) on Thursday, October 07, 2004 - 11:21 am: Edit|
It is awkward, and hard to deal with. I knew we were in trouble when I saw a flicker of relief on the face of another Mom (a great person, and a good friend) when I said my daughter wasn't interested in her child's favorite school - they are in the same class and are similar gradewise.
It's an ugly thing, and I've tried to just deflect the conversation with other parents. The first couple of times I said "Oh, she's looking at X,Y and Z" and got a gamut of reactions from "Great, wonderful" to envy, to "Where's that" to looks that I know mean "My Lord the kid can't even get into Local Commuter U".
The problem I'm having with this approach is that here, most kids go to a large state university, usually in-state, but sometimes a neighboring state where the kid is a legacy, it is not at all competitive academically, but it is "competitive" in the sense that it is good manners to ask about this, and for the senior's parent to respond, then a conversation about the football prospects of the school, merits of its coach, etc., ensues. So, if I don't answer, its rather rude; when I say she doesn't know yet (because she hasn't really even applied yet) they look at me like I'm crazy or stupid; and then when I say she may not know until April, people say "Oh how terrible".
It is getting old.
|By Momstheword (Momstheword) on Thursday, October 07, 2004 - 12:38 pm: Edit|
The topic of college can be unpleasant. With close friends who genuinally care for you and are on your side, it's fine, but with acquaintances and extended family, not good. I tend to avoid the topic at all. When it comes to the people whose kids go to more prestigious schools, it seems if you ask how their kids are doing, you're unfairly perceived as enviously comparing. With those going to less select schools, you're concerned that those you ask will think you're simply trying to gloat. It's sad, because I really am interested in how others' kids are doing, and I miss the interchange. Ah well. The family dog is a good listener.
|By Alongfortheride (Alongfortheride) on Thursday, October 07, 2004 - 02:45 pm: Edit|
>>>I figure each kid has his own package of talents and advantages and problems, and we're all just dealing with them as best we can. Reading these posts makes me feel grateful for our laidback NW lifestyle. We just aren't swimming in this same pool of competitiveness! I had to find the CC board for that!
Enjoyingthis, substitute our part of the country for yours and I say AMEN! Luckily the parents I avoid can easily be counted on one hand.
|By Cheers (Cheers) on Thursday, October 07, 2004 - 07:03 pm: Edit|
marite, just curious.
How do the French resolve the old saw Best is the Enemy of Good Enough?
Avoid maximizers? (I'm finding this thought rather shocking as I LOVE all the maximizers in my life.....hmmmmm).
|By Marite (Marite) on Thursday, October 07, 2004 - 07:35 pm: Edit|
That's the problem isn't it? Knowing when to stop? When a child builds a Lego tower and keeps on piling more blocks, eventually the tower topples. By trying to do better or best and not settling for good enough, the child ruined the whole structure. But when is the tower tall enough?
As an architect, you may have read the story that appeared in the NYT several years ago about the couple who had begun renovating their house 17 years earlier. When the article appeared, they were not done (it could be argued that it had become their life's mission). I think they are perfectionism personified, not being able to come to closure and move on.
|By Cheers (Cheers) on Thursday, October 07, 2004 - 09:27 pm: Edit|
Hmmmm. That is the problem with high-end clients. Some maximizing was drummed out of me by associating with too many clients pursuing 'the best of everything'.
I do have certain 'maximizer' categories--and lots of 'good enough' categories. i've discovered my preferences through trial and error.
Used 'invisible' cars. Had Jags. Hated it.
Not too fancy house. Had the fancy house. Yuck.
Secondary schools for boys. Had the best, didn't like the super-competitive atmosphere.
Second to third tier universities in good cities
Nails--these might be below good enough. Eeeks!
Economy seats (short haul flights)
Movies. I see them all.
Relatives (no choice there haha)
Elementary Schools for boys
Business class for long haul flights (whimp)
Friends. (I may be addicted to maximizers!)
Travel--where not how
|By Marite (Marite) on Thursday, October 07, 2004 - 09:48 pm: Edit|
I think the best strategy is to combine mottos:
Do the best you can and leave well enough alone.
It helps you sleep at night if you are not wondering if you could have done more, and there is actually time for sleeping if you are not trying to gild the lily.
|By Enjoyingthis (Enjoyingthis) on Thursday, October 07, 2004 - 09:48 pm: Edit|
I will tell this story just to exemplify the non-competitiveness of our area. Down at the gym the other day, I overheard another mom saying her son had chosen rugby and another mom said, "Oh, I hear that's big back there." Since I thought this hinted of kids-newly off to college, I asked Mom #1 if she'd just sent a kid off, since I'd just sent my twins. She said yes and when I asked her where, she said, "Oh, a little school in New Hampshire." She paused. "Dartmouth?" Well, I laughed. I thought at first she was just being cute and jokey as in Duh, everybody's heard of Dartmouth. But no! I laughed even more to realize she was completely earnest in her assumption that I would not have heard of it, indicating perhaps this is the reaction she most often gets. Turns out our kids were in a summer play together. I remembered her son and she remembered my twins--fun. So, that's how it is out here. If you want to send your kids off to prestigious east coast schools, fine. But don't be doing it because you hope to impress anyone else around here!
|By Dmd77 (Dmd77) on Thursday, October 07, 2004 - 11:15 pm: Edit|
Your story reminds me of the guy I met years ago who told everyone he went to college in Ithaca, NY. Since it was New England, everyone assumed he went to Cornell and was being modest. Turned out, of course, that he went to Ithaca College.
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