A lost opportunity

The recent news of parents paying bribes to get their children into top colleges was shocking and indicative of their strong desire for ‘brands’ which is not just restricted to fashion but also to the kind of school that they want their children to go to. The US Justice Department charged dozens of parents of sneaking their children’s admission into colleges through a college prep company called the Edge College and Career Network.

But natural, that the colleges that the parents went ‘shopping’ for are the top ranked colleges in the world. They would like to believe that they were securing their children’s future, or ensuring that the name of the college would add that extra shine to their children’s name or simply because they thought that their children were entitled to admission in these colleges. So, if they could not get through on their own merit, then a little ‘good’ parenting could always come handy.

The lesson they lost out on teaching to their children was that of trust, hard work, integrity, morality.

According to Lawrence Kohlberg’s (1981, 84) theory, morality develops in approximately six stages.

  • Level A. Premoral
    • Stage 1—Punishment and obedience orientation
    • Stage 2—Naive instrumental hedonism
  • Level B. Morality of conventional role conformity
    • Stage 3—Good-boy morality of maintaining good relations, approval by others
    • Stage 4—Authority-maintaining morality
  • Level C. Morality of accepted moral principles
    • Stage 5—Morality of contract, of individual rights and democratically accepted law
    • Stage 6—Morality of individual principles of conscience

His research further states that, few adults actually reach the fifth or sixth stages. It seems that it is not the acceptance of morality or ethics that is under question but the application of that ethics when it comes to the individual.

These parents not only lost out on teaching their children what is just action, but also what it is to be a just person.

Their children missed out on a beautiful opportunity to work hard, get admission into a college that would have been just the right fit for them, enjoy their experience of college and earn a degree that not only would have made them stretch out of their comfort zone but also given them the taste of well earned success.


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