Remember when you had your first child, and life was so full of joy and promise, and you had high hopes for an Ivy League education and a rich life for your offspring, full of high-earning-power executive career positions and yachting and mingling with the crustiest of the upper crust? HAH. Good luck with that:
REMEMBER the Dumb Kid in your math class who couldn’t understand what a square root was? Gone. Vanished from the earth like the stegosaurus. If your child is at an elite school, there are no dumb kids in his or her math class — only smart and smarter.
James Atlas reports in this Sunday’s NYT from the front lines of Tiger Mom Nation, where kids are killing themselves for an Ivy League education. Almost literally. A few examples:
- Kids who fucking choose archaeological digs in the Negev desert in lieu of summer camp
- Kids who fucking file stories from Bosnia or El Salvador on their summer vacations for high-school newspapers
- Kids who fucking work at orphanages in Katmandu, over Christmas break, for fun
- 12-year-olds with fucking pilot’s licenses, taking fucking calculus
The rich get richer. For some parents, nothing beats that feeling of sending little Johnny to Harvard when neighbor Suzy only gets into Brown. It’s better than sex for these soulless, abusive folk, and certainly takes the place of all that sex they’re not having while groading Johnny to practice that overture just five more times before bed.
For career women who’ve lost their careers, their kids become their careers, their new outlet for all that overachievingness their parents fostered on them at the same age, while failing to realize they’re playing into the same cycles of parental pressure and emotional neglect their very parents passed onto them. And now, in our New International Economy, your kid doesn’t just have to compete with all the other nerds in Mock Trial at their high school: they have to compete with nerds from Bulgaria and Africa, where they have a lot more time to study, while they’re not making out in air-conditioned movie theaters and sexting.
Is Yale really even worth it, at this point? Because it would be a lot easier to just settle for state school. At least then your kids might turn out kind of, you know, normal. But then they might not end up rich! And for the rich, that’s a fate worse than death.