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Penny and Rich, our beloved cousin-bloggers, do not see eye to eye on whether or not parents should pay for their kids’ college. In Rich’s Plan To Build A Generational Family Legacy. Uh, Yeah, In 3 Easy Steps!, he asserted that higher education is the key to a family’s long term stability, and it creates a positive feedback loop for the future.
Rich noted, as a bonus, that people with a high education level tend to marry other people with a high education level, they tend to have friends with high education levels, and they have kids who are more likely to attain high education levels. It’s a positive generational feedback loop.
Penny, on the other hand, Thinks Paying For Your Kid’s College Is Helicopter Parenting. She opined that paying for a kid’s college education is one of the biggest forms of helicopter parenting out there, and Rich’s plan seemed a bit (how did she say this in a nice way?) … controlling.
She noted the importance of children developing autonomy, and thought paying for their own education encourages children to take responsibility for their own lives. If parents are funding their education, they are taking all of that away from them.
Considering this wide divergence in views, our venerable blogger-cousins decided to hash this out in a virtual cage match, otherwise known as a blogchat debate. What you see below is their chat, possibly with poor grammar, improper capitalization, and strange slashes /// (which they used to keep track of thoughts for some reason).
Readers, think of yourselves as flies on the wall during an awkward family dinner, and feel free to chime in with comments. Now, into the cousin cage!
RICH is in blue, and PENNY is in red.
Hi Penny! I’m here in blue ready and waiting. Just finished putting the kids to bed. They like a good espresso and a cigarette before turning in. They’re autonomous that way.
How are you?
I’m here! Yeah, this is weird.
Hi! Well isn’t this funny? So maybe the biggest difference off the bat is the idea of control vs. planning. Is this semantics or a real difference?
CONTROL VS. PLAN
I don’t see my family legacy plan (in 3 easy steps!) as controlling as much as planning. I can’t control what they will do or what they will think, but i want to plan so they can do whatever they want to do up to their potential. This is about options.
Yes, you’re “planning”, but YOU’RE the one planning their lives, not them. That’s the part I have trouble with. And your “plan” seems a little bit too controlling for my tastes… down to the making sure that they attend college, to wanting to influence the type of person that they’ll marry.
Well according to child labor laws, they can’t work and save for college on their own just yet. They are 5. Hardy har.
I never said they could not choose their college or their course of study. If they have an incredible plan at age 18 for starting a business without going to college, I would strongly advise that a business degree would help. Because it would.
THE CAR ANALOGY
Here’s an analogy. It’s like buying a car so your kid can get to school. You are not telling them what to do when they arrive, you are simply providing the means of travel. Sure, you could tell them to walk, but in practical terms that just doesn’t work, because walking 30 miles each day is cost prohibitive and limits their options. In practical terms, you’re holding them back.
As far as the type of person they’ll marry, if you mean marrying an educated person … uh, yeah, that would be nice. But I don’t see how this is any different from taking a kid to church or encouraging them to read books.
And, I truly don’t understand how you equate “plan” with “control”. The opposite of a plan is not autonomy, the opposite of a plan is to be unprepared.
Okay, this is a long one. Where do I start?
Start at birth. ///
COLLEGE OR TRADE SCHOOL OR WHAT?
You said, “I never said they could not choose their course of study”… How would you feel about them wanting to go to a trade school or do manual labor? Become an electrician or carpenter or something? Would you steer them away from that? ///
It would be a challenge for them to convince me it was a good idea, but if it’s their idea and their passion, I’ll help them get on that path. But like, to me some of this is about health and well being. Manual labor takes a physical toll — I know, I grew up working on a farm. Other jobs can be worse. If my kids really wants to smoke cigarettes, I’m not going to just say hey it’s your life. ///