Many men in our fraternity shy away from telling their parents about their membership in the organization, paralyzed by the fear that their parents will be disappointed.
Even before they join, they relay their concern about how they cannot join if their parents knew. Luckily for me, my parents were always OK with me joining Beta Chi Theta. But since most brothers in our fraternity are of South Asian descent (or other minorities), their parents have no earthly clue what a fraternity is. And this lack of knowledge strikes fear in them.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Fear always springs from ignorance.” Think back to your younger years where you frolicked about in naive optimism and reveled in the lack of responsibility. The most wonderful thing you could do was spend the night outside of your house. So you begged and pleaded with your parents to let you sleepover at your best friend’s house. Most likely, they said “No, we don’t know that family,” afraid from all the horror news stories of children being abused in situations such as these.
However, once they got to know the family, everything became peachy. You skipped happily to your friend’s house knowing a hiatus from your own room was in store. In the end, all your parents needed was knowledge – and with that knowledge, their fear was expelled.
Here’s what you will hear:
“Isn’t it just a drinking club?”
“How will you study if you are spending time doing fraternity things?”
“College is for academics only! There’s no room for this!”
“I heard a story of a pledge from X University dying from hazing. We don’t want you to be a part of this!”
The key to answering these questions is to flip the frame from the bad reasons (which are baseless) to the good reasons.
Parents are simply not educated about a fraternity because most of the time our brothers do not take the time to do so. Turn the tables in this manner:
- Greeks are the largest values based organizations on campus, comprised of men and women who are drawn together through friendship and common goals.
- Our founding pillars are Brotherhood, Tradition, Service to Humanity, promoting South Asian Awareness, striving for Academic Excellence, and creating a unified Nationwide Network. Our brotherhood provides the “home away from home” that will support you in times of distress or celebration. These are worthy and noble causes that any parent would love to hear.
- Joining this fraternity will have a positive effect on your academics. We require a minimum GPA (in fact, Greek GPAs are historically higher than non Greek GPAs), have optional study hours, and make mentoring programs available.
- Not only do we require a higher GPA, but we also require a minimum number of service hours.
- By joining a fraternity, one will learn valuable skills such as planning, organizing, risk management, budgeting, communication, presentation, marketing, public relations, and the list goes on. You significantly enhance your academic experience with valuable, REAL LIFE skills. And here’s something parents love to hear – it’s great for your resume! And all these skills will be applied and used long after your college experience.
- Joining a fraternity gives you access to a vast Alumni network for professional connections which can lead to career advice and interviews.
If you tell your parents these simple facts, you can easily transfer their thinking from all the bad to all the good. That’s the key. Don’t be afraid to talk candidly with your parents about their concerns. Being a part of a fraternity is a great experience that will build character and leadership. What parent wouldn’t want that? For more info, feel free to guide your parents to our parents section, where we address the benefits of joining Beta Chi Theta and address many frequently asked questions.
This blog post was originally published by Brother Ehson Afshar on September 20th, 2010.