The text said only this, “Not Aunt Becky!” As I have no relative named Aunt Becky, and I am a child of the ’80s, Lori Loughlin’s face immediately popped into my mind. I clicked on the link and saw, along with the rest of the nation, the initial wave of information regarding the incredible college admissions scandal.
We spent the next few days watching hard-to-fathom details roll across our news feeds. Unbelievable amounts of money and influence, connection and privilege had been utilized to give certain kids a leg up, much further up. The reactions were swift and wide-spread in the news, from celebrities, and in my own little part of the world. We were shocked that someone would use their money and influence this way. We were sad for the message this sent their children about the ability to be successful on their own. We were broken that our long-standing system of privilege had, yet again, been used to step around those with fewer resources. We were a lot of emotions that pointed out and pointed at but very few that pointed in.
As the noise died down and I had a bit more time to reflect on the pieces at play, an interesting little phrase took root in my mind…
“Girl, put your stones down.”
I don’t know what specific thoughts Aunt Becky used to justify the decisions she made for her children. And I’m certain we don’t know how deep the rabbit hole goes for all of the backroom deals and private conversations that allowed for circumstances like this to happen. But I bet you a dime to a dollar I know at least a couple of the influences that sparked this wildfire, and they are the same ones we deal with every day.
Today’s parents are uniquely influenced by the temptation to worship our kids’ experience and its bedfellow, the fear of scarcity. Many of our communities and social media feeds are filled with reminders about all the opportunities that are available for our children. We see what others are doing and we are tempted to wonder, is my kid missing out? We look in our pocketbooks and analyze our calendars to figure out if we can afford to give them just one more quality educational or extracurricular experience. And while it would be easy to vilify the opportunities, it’s not the opportunities that are the problem. It’s our perspective about them that can trip us up.
The space between offering our children opportunities out of love or worshiping their childhood is narrow. And it helps us all to realize just how thin that line can be.
The truth is that we can all be Aunt Becky if we get scared enough. While we might not do something illegal to get our kids into college, the fears we have about our children’s futures certainly leave us susceptible to making decisions that may not fit our values. If we get worried enough about our children’s experiences we can, very easily, begin to worship at the altar of privilege and wealth and opportunity…whether or not we can afford to do so. We can all be Aunt Becky if we don’t sit every. single. day. and meditate on the truth that God loves our kids more than we do and we don’t have to manhandle their futures.
And so on we go as parents, working very hard to tune out the world and check in with God about the state of our children’s development. We train ourselves to pray each time we encounter a new opportunity rather than check our pocketbook and calendar to see if we can “make it work.” We seek to place our children in opportunities we feel He wants them to be in rather than every option that comes our way. We work to enjoy the opportunities they get and try not to idolize the ones they don’t. Ultimately, we try every day to set our kids back at the feet of Jesus, asking for the strength to trust Him with these most precious parts of our lives.
Lord, may you grant us all the wisdom to choose for our children that which You would have for them rather than any measure we would choose for ourselves.
And Lord, be with Lori Laughlin. A Mom. Who made a mistake. We can all relate to that.