Thursday, September 25, 2014

Rules Your Children Won't Learn in School

As I look back on my life and consider the lessons I would want to share with my children and grandchildren, I don't know if there's a better punch-in-the-gut summary of the real rules of life than this one. I don't remember where I originally found it, but I think it's worth sharing ...

Rule #1. Life is not fair. Get used to it. The average teenager uses the phrase It's not fair! 8.6 times a day*. You got it from your parents, who said it so often you decided they must be the most idealistic generation ever. When they started hearing it from their own kids, they understood Rule #1.

Rule #2. The real world won't care as much about your self-esteem as your school does. It expects you to accomplish something before you feel good about yourself. This may come as a shock. Usually, when inflated self-esteem meets reality, kids complain that it's not fair (see Rule #1)

Rule #3. Sorry, you won't make $100,000 a year right out of high school. And you won't be a vice president or have a company car or phone or iPad, either. You may even have to wear a uniform that has your name, rather than a Gap label on it.

Rule #4. If you think your teacher is tough, wait 'til you get a boss. He doesn't have tenure, so he tends to be a bit edgier. When you screw up, he is not going ask you how feel about it.

Rule #5. Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping. They called it opportunity. They weren't embarrassed making minimum wage either. They would have been embarrassed to sit around talking about the latest web sensation all weekend.

Rule #6. It's not your parents' fault. If you screw up, you are responsible. This is the flip side of It's my lifeYou're not the boss of me, and other eloquent proclamations of your generation. When you turn 18, it's on your dime. Don't whine about it or you'll sound like a Gen Xer.

Rule #7. Before you were born your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way paying your bills, cleaning up your room and listening to you tell them how idealistic you are. And by the way, before you save the rain forest from the blood-sucking parasites of your parents' generation try delousing the closet in your bedroom.

Rule #8. Life is not divided into semesters, and you don't get summers off. Nor even Easter break. Your employer expects you to show up for eight hours or more every day, volunteer for extra work, and not ask for ridiculous things like overtime pay. And you don't get a new life every 10 weeks. It just goes on and on.

Rule #9. Television is not real life. Your life is not a sitcom or a "reality" show. Your problems will not all be solved in 30 minutes, minus time for commercials. In real life, people actually have to leave the sandwich shop to go to jobs. Your friends will not be perky or as polite as the ones on those Disney Channel shows.

Rule #10. Be nice to nerds. You may end up working for them. We all could.

Rule #11. Enjoy life while you can. Sure, parents are a pain, school's a bother, and life is depressing. But someday you'll realize how wonderful it was to be kid. Maybe you should start now.

Have a good day. Teach your children the right rules. More thoughts tomorrow.


* My granddaughter Leya is only 7, and she uses it, too. A lot.


Duckbutt said...

Good rules to remember.

Anemone said...

Live isn't fair, but we must live it anyway.

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

Good ones!!!

Mike said...

You're not going to get out of life alive.

eViL pOp TaRt said...

Kids learn #1 from their school experiences: it's not fair there.

allenwoodhaven said...

And yet there are people who think that protecting kids from failure or struggle actually helps them. Our difficulties shape us as much or even more than our successes.