Values Investing

Image from Pixabay

Image from Pixabay

The college admissions ordeal is more than a scandal – it’s much worse.

We are learning more about how successful, powerful, influential, famous people allegedly have gone beyond bending the rules for their own advantage so that their kids can get admitted to certain universities and colleges. It is easy for us “normal” people to sit back and watch this story unfold with a scornful eye. But that should hardly be the focus.

It is shameful that these parents knowingly and intentionally went to such great lengths to have their kids get admitted into schools. Lies, deception, bribery and outright fraud were all par for tIhe course.

Some who may be sympathetic to the situation (Bueller? Bueller?) might argue that these parents were doing what so many other parents do: whatever it takes to help their child get into college. Just like so many normal parents who invest in their children’s future via a college education, this might include helping write an admissions essay, completing that unfinished homework assignment, or signing up for financial aid.

There are many reasons why this story has created such an outrage. From my perspective, there is nothing more heinous than the fact that these parents have completely failed their children in teaching them values.

Values that come to mind include faith, accountability, compassion, humility, loyalty and authenticity. There are also honesty, integrity, truthfulness and hard work.

Instead, these parents have led by example in showing what greed, ego, fraud and envy are all about. That you can lie and cheat to reach a desired outcome. That hard work and merit has less value than dollar bills. That integrity is inferior to satisfaction.

Instead of investing in the value of a college experience (certainly not an education), these parents should have been investing in teaching their children the values they will actually need to make it in the real world.

This sort of values investing cannot be bought, but it does have a promising chance of outperformance.

My wife and I are expecting the arrival of our first child in the next few weeks, and I am fully expecting to be thrown through the ringer in more ways than one. There are sure to be head-scratching moments, times of happiness and sadness, and many instances of not knowing the right answer. But what I do know is that we will always work to invest in the values that our son will have, no matter how hard that is.

Note: this article was also featured on Mark Beal’s LinkedIn profile and can be viewed here.