The man passed out as he exited the front door onto his porch. Someone dialed 911. When the paramedics arrived, they helped him regain consciousness and asked if he knew what caused him to faint. “It was enough to make anybody do so,” he said. “My son asked me for the keys to the garage and instead of driving the car out, he exited with the lawn mower.”

Well, it’s not children and lawnmowers that I want to talk about, but parents and lawn-mowers (one such set of parent in particular).  However, before I do, let me first explain what a lawnmower parent is:

Helicopter dads like to hover up above and tiger moms like to roar down below, but now make room for a whole new breed of mothers and fathers, lawn-mower parents: folks who go to great lengths to prevent their child(ren) from having to face any adversity at all – and they do so by removing all obstacles found in the way.  (They’re also called curling parents, who, like a broom sweeper in the sport, groom an area clear in anticipation of their child’s arrival to it). Way up north, instead of lawn-mower parents, the concept is also called snow-plow mothers and fathers.

Lori Loughlin is a major Hollywood television star on both network (Full House) and cable (Hallmark Channel).  She is married to the highly successful fashion designer, Mossimo  Giannulli.  Their combined net-worth is $100 million, including a $32 million dollar mansion in Beverly Hills, California.  They have two college-age daughters, Olivia and Isabella.  So what do you do when you are a prestigious couple living a prestigious lifestyle in a prestigious neighbourhood with prestigious friends, and you want your daughters to go to a prestigious university (that they have no chance of getting into on their own)?  No problem.  You get your cheque-book out and clear away any obstacles.  It’s all done on the “q-t” through the “non-profit” company, Edge College And Career.  Your kids need a real high score on their SAT or ACT?  No problem, send a donation and someone else will take the test for them.  Your kids need the test administrator to go along with the ruse?  No problem, send a donation and the tester will do that.  Your kids need to broaden their application with extra-curricular activities they never took part in?  No problem, send a donation and their faces will be photo-shopped onto other students’ faces in their high school yearbook.  Your kids need university entrance officials to turn a blind eye to it all?  No problem, send a donation and “accepted” will be stamped on their file – no questions asked and no interview required.  And how much in “donations” did Lori (the mother) and Mossimo (the father) contribute to make this all possible? $500,000.

However, unknown to all involved, the FBI was secretly collecting evidence on the biggest college cheating scandal in American history.  Code-named Operation Varsity Blue, 50 adults were caught red-handed in the scheme.  And very early Monday morning, March 19, 2019, FBI agents fanned out across the country to make arrests.  With guns drawn, they knocked on the doors of the homes of Hollywood celebrities, corporation heads, pro-athletes and university officials.  All were taken away in handcuffs to immediately appear before federal judges.  The one exception was Lori Loughlin. who at the time was in Canada (Vancouver, British Columbia) making a film for Hallmark, When Calls The Heart.  She was arrested upon returning to California.  The two parents were then released after each posted bail of $1,000,000.  They are charged with mail fraud, tax fraud, bribing public officials and racketeering.  Each faces up to twenty years in prison and a combined $1,000,000 fine.  The Hallmark Channel and Full House have since severed all ties with the actress and her career is over.

But this is what lawnmower parents do.  Surprisingly, a Canadian education psychologist took lawn-mower parenting to task; stating that such coddling will not help, but only harm a child’s long-term development.  Dr. Jillian Roberts told Global News Canada, “When fathers and mothers deprive their children of opportunities to practice problem-solving skills, their parenting is actually detrimental to the kids.  In fact, what they are really communicating is: “I don’t think you’re capable of handling this on your own.”

The bottom line?  It would have been a lot cheaper for the parents if they just had hired a tutor for the girls!

Addendum – On a personal note, I have always appreciated that our church school teachers give a true mark on student’s report cards; even if that grade is low and in a small church involves family and/or friends.