Send Your Kids to College, Keep Your Money at Home
THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT REFLECTIONS OF A PROUD FATHER
April is here, and college and high school students alike are getting fitted for their caps and gowns. So let me begin by saying congratulations to our graduating seniors! And to the parents of those students, job well-done. Turning the tassel is one of life’s great milestones. Treasure it dearly. As a father of three, I’ve been to my fair share of graduation ceremonies, and I still have a few more to go. They never fail to be emotional affairs. As a parent, it can be hard to swallow the strange cocktail of pride and sadness that comes with the irrefutable evidence that, yes, your child has grown up. With our youngest finishing his bachelor’s degree, his brother earning a Ph.D., and our eldest preparing herself to join the Peace Corps, I’ve come to terms with the fact that my children are no longer, well, children. As I write this, I can’t help but reflect on raising them and remembering how they had similar experiences but ended up taking such radically different paths. Scout programs are an integral part of the Goedecke household. My sons, Thomas and Gregory, started as Cubs and worked their way up to join me at the rank of Eagle Scout. As a parent, I couldn’t be prouder. As a troop leader, I was fascinated by how the boys each made the experience their own.
Gregory, meanwhile, took a leadership path. He was accepted into the National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT) program and took to it with gusto. Gregory combined his leadership skills with his passion for music and activism to organize a concert to raise awareness about human trafficking. Many members of the local legislature showed up to the event, which featured guest speakers working to combat this terrible crime. Amelie, our daughter, didn’t have the same room for advancement in the Girl Scouts as her brothers did in Boy Scouts, but she still came away with a passion for service, mentorship, and travel. At the time of writing, she’s preparing to ship off to Gambia to aid in education and economic development in one of the world’s most disadvantaged communities. The Peace Corps seems tailor-made for Amelie’s interests and goals. We know she’ll go far. As you can tell, I have no problem talking about my kids. To be fair, they make it easy to be a proud father! They’ve all been through one Scout program or another, but each of them has put their own unique spin on what they’ve taken out of the experience. Each of my kids has striven to make the world a better place, and they’ve done it in their own way. That’s one of the late surprises of parenting — when you suddenly realize your children are inspiring you. Maybe for some of you, that moment has already happened. But I’d wager that, for many parents, that moment will come in about a month, when their seniors take the stage as students and leave as graduates.
“That’s one of the late surprises of parenting — when you suddenly realize your children are inspiring you.”
Thomas became a member of the prestigious Order of the Arrow, a Boy Scout society dedicated to preserving the diverse history and folklore of Native Americans. To Thomas, this wasn’t just some exclusive club — he took the work seriously. While at USC, he volunteered with local Native American communities to help teach kids about their heritage, customs, and dance.
–K u rt Goedecke
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