Caldwell: Parents’ actions become unintentional lessons

Do not fall for the spin coming from a segment of those who make up the 24-hour news cycle. There is not a fine line or blurred distinction between trying to help your child succeed in life and flat-out cheating.

Supporters of the wealthy families impacted by the college education admission scandal sweeping through some of our nation’s most prestigious colleges want people to believe that this was simply a case of caring too much for their children.

It was certainly more than that.

Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin have grabbed many of the headlines in this story but the criminal indictments also included leaders in law, business and a host of other fields.

Everyone has heard the old adage that “the road to you know where is paved with good intentions.” These individuals weren’t just on that path; they were barreling down it in their Mercedes Benzes and Jaguars.

As a father who wants the very best for his daughters, I can understand — up to a point.

We all want our children to be happy and successful. I can think of nothing more gratifying than seeing my children achieve success; but lying and cheating isn’t the way to get there.

These individuals allegedly paid to alter test scores, falsify athletic involvement and guarantee admission status without qualifications.

Some supporters will try to argue this is the media making a mountain out of the proverbial mole hill.

It isn’t.

This is about fairness and doing what is right and simply having a level playing field for all students, regardless of race, religion, gender or how deep mommy and daddy’s pockets go.

Of course, life isn’t fair. But we expect our institutions, especially those funded with taxpayer dollars, to strive for that pinnacle.

It seems these parents have forgotten that life’s journey is important, in and of itself. The best lessons often come from trying and failing; then learning to get back up and try again.

What happened to the idea of simply putting in the hard work, doing your absolute best and living with the results? But we have become short-cut society.

This appears to be far more about obtaining the status symbol of attending a prestigious college than it was helping these students gain access to the best possible education.

Does this mean the parents involved are bad people? Not necessarily. It certainly means they made mistakes, should be held accountable and should own it.

This situation is about far more than just helping your child — crimes were committed— and should be viewed as such.

As parents, one of our primary goals in life is teaching our children important lessons about what is right or wrong. I guess you can say mission accomplished.

Maybe we can all learn a little from this.

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Winchester Sun and Winchester Living magazine. He can be reached at 759-0095 or by email at