Some kids would do anything to keep their report cards from their parents, but one 19-year-old college student took it to the extreme. Aftab Aslam, a freshman at Georgia Gwinnett College, was so afraid to tell his parents he was failing English, he faked his own kidnapping. Using a cellphone he'd purchased at Target, Aftab sent an anonymous text to his parents pretending to be his kidnappers. The cops were called, the FBI got involved, and 10 days later, Aftab had more problems than just that F in English.
He told authorities he'd been drugged, but eventually came clean and admitted that he camped out in a tent in a less-developed part of town, and when the weather turned bad, that's when he decided to head home.
And now he's in major trouble. He's turned himself in to the police and faces charges for three felony counts for false statements, tampering with evidence, and terroristic threats.
An F in school seems like child's play compared to that news.
Here's the thing -- while I think Aftab needs to pay for his mistakes (an FBI search doesn't come cheap, guys!), I can't help but feel a little sorry for him. Clearly his parents put an enormous amount of pressure on him to do well in school, and when he failed, he felt like he had to run. That's not good.
As parents, it's our job to encourage our children and push them to reach their potential in school, sports, art, etc., but we have to strike the balance of being ardent about success and approachable about failure. It's not easy to be the bad guy and the good guy all at the same time, but it's necessary.
The last thing we want to do is scare our kids into thinking the only solution is living in a tent for 10 days while the FBI searchers for their kidnappers.
How do you strike the balance?
Photo via Wonderlane/Flickr