Sympathy for the Rich and Famous

The news broke yesterday exposing the scheme to pay a handsome sum for an agent to get the children of celebrities and the wealthy into their schools of choice. Through fraud and bribery these children found their way into well respected schools because parents paid for this illegal service. Indictments against the parents, the agents, and those on the take at some of the schools involved made this the topic of conversation on social media. The general reaction was outrage.

I react a bit differently. How sad that these children who have enjoyed benefits already in life had parents willing to buy and deceive their way into admission at these prestigious schools. I think of how happy we were in my home when acceptance letters arrived. How empty it must feel to try and celebrate admission of one’s daughter or son into a school when you know it was not earned; it came through deception and bribery.

The extremely wealthy and celebrated famous are given nothing but the best treatment. At restaurants, concert and sports venues, the best restaurants and fine hotels they are given deferential treatment. But, down deep they know they have this elite status because others know they are willing to pay for it, or they want to be close to celebrities. It is no wonder the incidence of depression is so high among the rich and famous. How sad and lonely it must be to have to buy what others earn.

You can try and buy happiness. You can certainly buy elite, first class treatment. Even prestigious schools have their price and their desire to be the destination of children of celebrity and status. But, you cannot buy the satisfaction that you have earned respect and admiration. That is simply not for sale.

The persons who are admired for reasons other than their wealth, position, talent or celebrity status earn it. They earn it by being kind, generous, humble, honest and positive. They serve others. They love freely. They are good neighbors. They are reliable friends.

A good reputation is something that cannot be purchased or sold. It is built through consistent actions, not bought in a transaction. So, it seems to me we might find a little sympathy for the rich and famous who bought their children an admission to college they never earned. Yes, it is a black mark on the whole college admission system that this fraudulent scam could work. But, there remains a sadness to this whole affair for me.

The path to real success in life has no shortcuts. There is no price tag on genuine success. It involves a daily commitment to living the right way. It is worth the effort. The only accomplishments that we can truly celebrate are those we earn. The only praise that really matters comes from those who praise our character and genuineness.