What controversial advice have people given to their children? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.
My parents raised me from infancy to not go to college. They told my brother and I that if we wanted to go, we'd have to pay our own way.
By the time I was in high school and all the other kids were obsessing over whether to party at UCLA for four years or try to learn something at Notre Dame, I didn't even think about college. As such, my grades sucked because I didn't care about trying to impress anybody. I already knew I was smart enough and coasted through my last three and a half years of school.
I never felt the intense pressure that plagued many of my classmates who were worried about getting into a good college. I graduated in the bottom 50% of my class and I don't regret it. It drove my high school guidance counselor nuts. He could not fathom why I wouldn't want to go to college, because college equals a good job, and a good job equals a nice car and a nice house.
Did I make a mistake? Well, let me put it this way, I'm training my 8-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son not to go to college. And I'm telling them if they want to go, they'll have to pay their own way. I'm also telling them how to make a living with nothing more than their own brains, a notebook, and a pencil, just like their daddy.
I never struggled with student debt, I'm not encumbered by a soul-sucking job, I don't have to worry about the rat race, and my wife doesn't have to work. I'd call that a success.
And for that, I cannot thank my parents enough.