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Nose Under the Community Tent

By Paul Losch

About this blog: I was a "corporate brat" growing up and lived in different parts of the country, ending in Houston, Texas for high school. After attending college at UC Davis, and getting an MBA at Harvard, I embarked on a marketing career, mai...  (More)

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Uploaded: Sep 5, 2010
My daughter Adrienne, a 2008 PALY grad, shipped off on Jet Blue Saturday night for her junior year at Middlebury College in Vermont.

Her summer back in Palo Alto included some down time, working as a Camp Galileo Counselor at Walter Hays, and socializing with friends she grew up with. By all accounts, she had a pleasant summer.

She and I had some enjoyable times at events downtown and at dining establishments, but I mainly gave her a great deal of space.

It is somewhat confusing to be a parent of a college age student who is an "adult" legally, but of course is still your child, living under your roof, for a few summer months.
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Posted by Walter_E_Wallis, a resident of ,
on Sep 5, 2010 at 2:25 am

Walter_E_Wallis is a registered user.

How about some Fall foliage shots?

Posted by Boomerang parent, a resident of ,
on Sep 5, 2010 at 8:08 am

First of all there are the summers when they come home (and the occasional week at winter and spring break). Then they graduate and can't find a job so they come home to find minimum wage jobs!!!

Adult children in your home, can be fun when it is choice, but it can be much harder when it is through necessity.

Posted by Kevin, a resident of ,
on Sep 5, 2010 at 8:39 am

The 25 year old adult accross the street from me is now living with his parents, again. He had a good job, but his firm decided to get out of California and move back east. They invited him to come. He refused to leave Palo Alto, so he quit.

His parents, IMO, should have told him that he is no longer welcome at home. They didn't, so now they are stuck with a spoiled brat, who is constantly complaining.

Palo Alto kids are well educated, but they lack backbone. Kinda like their parents, eh?

Posted by Paul Losch, a resident of ,
on Sep 5, 2010 at 8:59 am

Paul Losch is a registered user.


I was at the family weekend for my daughter's freshman year, and the foliage was spectacular. Early October.

There are certain experiences that defy description. Being in the elements that time of year in New England is an example. All sensations and senses are turned on.

Then you have to rake leaves.

Posted by Parent too, a resident of ,
on Sep 5, 2010 at 5:57 pm

To Kevin and others,

I am a bit tired of the generalizations about Palo Alto kids in this forum. So I am going to talk a bit about my daughter here.

She graduated from Paly in 2005.

While at Paly, she refused to take the typical path of high school students here. Instead of the usual sports, music or clubs, she started working part time early on, by choice, in part because she wanted the money. And then, she never looked back.

She did not achieve stellar grades in school, although she got better grades on the few AP classes she took than on her regular classes. Go figure. So, she ended up going to a "second tier" UC campus, that Palo Alto parents often love to despise. There, she continued working part-time outside of school, by choice once again, gradually getting better jobs.

She graduated from college in 2009, with a very good full-time job offer in her pocket.

She has now been working a year (not in Palo Alto) with mostly people from universities such as UCLA and equivalent. And guess what? At the first annual evaluation, she surpassed them all, and was ranked number one of the whole group, for her technical skills, and, as importantly, for her people skills and her work ethic.

She is doing very well, and there is no talk of her moving back in with Mom and Dad.

So please, think twice before making blanket generalizations about Palo Alto kids. Thank you.

Posted by Kevin, a resident of ,
on Sep 5, 2010 at 6:47 pm

Parent too,

That's a good, but unusual, story from Palo Alto. Good for your daughter, and for you. I think you are making my case for me.

However, please don't assume that it is the typical story. Palo Alto kids are (yes, generally) raised without backbones. They are are eager and educated, but they are limp in the real world. It is not their fault, as a newborn, but they gladly accept their condition, and this makes them fully responsible for it. They would be much better off signing up with the military for a couple of years, before they enter college (not of their original choice). They are slowly dying in their own soup by not entering the actual conditions of the world. They will erode inside their parents' homes, miserable and whining. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Posted by Paul Losch, a resident of ,
on Sep 5, 2010 at 7:03 pm

My son Nathan is a 2005 graduate of PALY, so he may know your daughter, who graduated the same year.

He wants to be a school teacher, and elected to spend a year teaching English in Korea. His stint ends in October, and he will get his teaching credential when he gets back to the States.

He does not like the suburban town in Korea where he resides, and he has had mixed experiences with the kids he has taught. I think this is great! We live in a very rarefied town, and I am glad that both my kids are spending some of their formative years elsewhere.

Posted by Kevin, a resident of ,
on Sep 5, 2010 at 7:33 pm


It seems to be common for PA kids to sign up for an English teaching job abroad. There are programs that set these things up. It is a step up from glass blowing, but it is really a delay in the growing-up process. It is good that your son is out of Palo Alto, and mixing it up a bit with the locals in SK, but if he comes back to PA, and sticks around, don't be surprised if he wants to live with you or his mom.

Posted by Parent too, a resident of ,
on Sep 5, 2010 at 7:42 pm


I'll ask my daughter if she knows your son, and I'll let you know!

I am glad both of your children have been having such enriching experiences. I agree that it is a good idea for Palo Alto kids to go and experience other places, discover that our town is only a small dot on the map, and that there is something else in the world than the privileged life most people live in this town.

I wish both your children well in their respective futures. I still have a child in the Palo Alto school system and wish him well too.


I think that children such as Paul's children and my children are much more common than it seems in Palo Alto. The problem is that they are not the ones that we hear about. We tend to hear only about the "super successful" ones that go to Ivy League universities or about the ones that get lost somewhere along the way, and get in trouble. I believe there is a big "silent majority" of kids from Palo Alto that we don't hear much about. Maybe it should be time that we hear more about such kids and that we put things back in perspective.

Posted by Paul Losch, a resident of ,
on Sep 6, 2010 at 12:15 pm


A step up from glass blowing? If you and I were face to face, it would not be a polite conversation.

The cohort in college or recently graduated face a very challenging environment. There are kids like you described who appear to lack an understanding of personal responsibilty, and there are others who understand they need to make their own way, and are in an environment that is not a walk in the park.

Posted by Kevin, a resident of ,
on Sep 6, 2010 at 3:05 pm


The Palo Alto kids, with their parents' full support, are filling up in a bucket of false hope, unless they are trust fund babies. In either case, the parents are the main culprits.

Palo Alto kids, in general, are very pampered, and they don't know it. One of my daughtet's boyfriends once told me that he would not accept any career that was not part of his dream. My daughter left him, and a couple more, until she settled on another entitled reprobate. It was no problem for me to tell her, "No, you are not getting a loan to travel to Europe". In fact, I told her that she was on her own, once she turned 18. I kept my word. She grew up fast, and married a solid guy with a hard work ethic, had three kids, and is now an essential part of his business.

I have two sons, and they had the same limits. One of them fell down for a while, but eventually got on his feet and is earning a lot of money in this current economy (school of hard knocks, including a three year stint in the Army). My other son was a straight arrow, no problems, and he has done well by following the approved path. However, in all honesty, he is the weakest of the three, because if loses his job he will be a piece of emotional putty (again, his problem, not mine).

Palo Alto parents worry too much about their kids. They need to kick them out of the nest.

Posted by Parent too, a resident of ,
on Sep 7, 2010 at 7:32 pm

Hi Gary,

I asked my daughter about Nathan, and she said that she does know who he is but has not talked to him since high school. Her name is Emily. We think it's wonderful to put in a year overseas teaching English. It must give anyone who does it a totally new perspective on life and the world.

I think Kevin is overly harsh. Kids need more parental help now than they did 30 years ago or more. For instance, going to college is now so expensive that we did not want our daughter burdened with its cost and we paid for it.

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