Over the last two weeks my son has received a sizable scholarship and an acceptance letter from the school he really wanted to go to. Now when I say sizable, I mean, the kind of scholarship that he will not have to be saddled with tens of thousands to six figures of student loans so many families in America face in this messed up system we are in. This is a huge opportunity for him and also a scary one for me as a parent. I am caught between pride and fear.
When he was in elementary school, if he was struggling with math or another subject, I was able to tutor him easily. When there was a problem at school with a bully or some other issue, the fight was mine with the administration. As he grew older and entered middle school and high school, the class subjects got increasingly more difficult. The issues of bullying got more difficult. Anyone who has studied the bullying issue in America today will know that it is literally deadly.
I have looked two principles in the eye and said you have one year to fix this if you want to keep your job. One did. The other did not. He lost his job and I am fine with this. But then the problems got more complex. My son exceeded my math abilities and I never studied a foreign language. His protection issues required lawyers and judges that were outside of my control.
Now comes college. College seems to be a land where rapists and murders face little to no consequences if they are athletes or in a fraternity. He will be living on campus. When he is with me he is in the next room. When he is with his mother, he is a 7 minute drive away and I know his mother is in the next room. That ends.
This is the point that you have to trust the you raised your child and prepared them for adult life. That part of the deal is mostly something I trust. Scholastically I have no doubt he will do well. I’ve also no doubt he will be responsible. It is institutions I do not trust.
As a former minister I learned not to trust the institution called church. As a former adjunct professor who sat in the back rooms when there was a concern over a student with special needs or facing sexual assault, I learned not to trust the institution called colleges and universities. Finally, as a citizen in this current administration, I know not to trust the institution called government.
I am proud of my son. So very proud. I am also scared for him. Today, I will let the pride win. But I cannot and will not ignore the things I am scared of. At the end of today’s column I also realize something else to be proud of him for. My fear is not him and his abilities to be an adult. My fear is of the institutions that have created inequality and enforce it daily.