January 28th, 2013 1:26 PM by Melanie Mitchell - Team Lead/Listing Specialist
January 28, 2013
One of my clients recently shared a list from a commencement address given several years ago by Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft. In the high school commencement speech, Gates listed 11 things students did not and would not learn in school. In his address, Gates talked about how feel-good, politically correct teachings have created a generation of kids with no concept of reality. He argued that this concept sets them up for failure in the real world.
This problem has been compounded in recent years as youth culture, primarily junior high and high school, now has an incredibly high impact on American culture. Movies, TV shows, fashion, and, of course, music are all influenced by youth culture to a greater extent than ever before. This silliness is made worse by well-meaning parents who create an environment in which their children are involved in too many activities and are insulated from any character-building feedback that might cause their child a bit of pain.
But the good times eventually come to an end. The children get hit in the face by reality, either in college or later in life, when they have to accept responsibility and deal with reality. They are ultimately forced to live in the real world where it is competitive, not graded on a curve, and where parents and teachers are not chasing them around with a safety net.
I am saddened when parents my age complain to me that their twenty-something children, often after thousands of dollars of education and student loans, cannot get and hold a good job because they have not had to work for anything until they graduated from college. These parents have, with good intentions, raised their children to be academically well educated. Yet they are often lacking in the basic common sense principals of how to work hard and take responsibility.
I believe one of the most important roles of parents should be to use the first eighteen years of our children’s lives to prepare them for the next 60-70 years of life. This does not mean that children cannot have fun. But it does mean that they need to understand that everything is not free and fun. It means they should have a part time job in high school and possibly college. And it means that they learn, even at home, everything is not given to them. It means being part of a family is doing chores and helping out.
This is a good place to start—with your children, your staff, or even yourself:
This list actually originated with Charles Sykes, an educator and author of many books addressing the problems with America’s education system. The 11 rules were originally written in his book, 50 Rules Kids Won’t Learn in School.
Rule 1: Life is not fair – get used to it!
Rule 2: The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.
Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won’t be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.
Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.
Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.
Rule 6: If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes; learn from them.
Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent’s generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.
Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.
Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.
Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.
Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.