The Washington Post

The earnest parent and the counselor: A conversation

( (

Steve Peifer, associate director of college counseling at Oxbridge Academy of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach, Fla., reported on a counselors’ listserv this (non-) conversation that he had with a parent at an open house, and he has given me permission to publish it.

Yes, this stuff really happens.


Earnest Parent: My daughter just raves about you! The way she talked about you being so with it, I just assumed that you were one of the new, young teachers.

Me: (No idea how to respond)

Earnest Parent: Then I saw you, and I told my daughter ‘OMG he is even older than ME!’

Me: (Still no idea how to respond)

Earnest Parent: Isn’t it GREAT that you can be OLD and still communicate with kids?

Me: (Absolutely no idea how to respond but nodding in agreement)

Earnest Parent: I just LOVE encouraging people.

Me: (Wanting to say ‘And you are SO good at it’  but instead smiles weakly.)






Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
How to make Sean Brock's 'Heritage' cornbread
New limbs for Pakistani soldiers
The signature dish of Charleston, S.C.
Play Videos
Why seasonal allergies make you miserable
John Lewis, 'Marv the Barb' and the politics of barber shops
What you need to know about filming the police
Play Videos
The Post taste tests Pizza Hut's new hot dog pizza
5 tips for using your thermostat
Michael Bolton's cinematic serenade to Detroit
Play Videos
Full disclosure: 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1 ghoul
Pandas, from birth to milk to mom
The signature drink of New Orleans
Next Story
Valerie Strauss · November 1, 2013

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.