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Some Rules Kids Won’t Learn in School

Nov 30, 2007

I got this from Dacs. Maybe it’s not that applicable in the Philippines, but the gist is here.

Unfortunately, there are some things that children should be learning in
school, but don't. Not all of them have to do with academics. As a
modest back-to-school offering, here are some basic rules that may
not have found  their way into the standard curriculum.
Rule No. 1: Life is not fair. Get used to it. The average teen-ager
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 realized Rule No. 1.

Rule No. 2: The real world won't care as much about your self-esteem
as much as your school does. It'll expect 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 it's not fair.
(See Rule No. 1)

Rule No. 3: Sorry, you won't make $40,000 a year right out of high
school. And you won't be a vice president or have a car phone either.
You may even have to wear a uniform that doesn't have a Gap label.

Rule No. 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's not going to ask you how you feel about it.

Rule No. 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your
grand-parents had a different word of burger flipping. They called it
opportunity. They weren't embarrassed making minimum wage either.
They would have been embarrassed to sit around talking about Kurt
Cobain all weekend.

Rule No. 6: It's not your parents' fault. If you screw up, you are
responsible. This is the flip side of "It's my life," and "You'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 baby boomer.

Rule No. 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 No. 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers.
Life hasn't. In some schools, they'll give you as many times as you
want to get the right answer. Failing grades have been abolished and
class valedictorians scrapped, lest anyone's feelings be hurt. Effort is
as important as results.
This, of course, bears not the slightest resemblance to anything in
real life. (See Rule No. 1, Rule No. 2 and Rule No. 4)

Rule No. 9: Life is not divided into semesters, and you don't get
summers off. Not even Easter break. They expect you to show up
every day. For eight hours. And you don't get a new life every 10 weeks.
It just goes on and on.
While we're at it, very few jobs are interesting in fostering your self-
expression or helping you find yourself. Fewer still lead to self-realization.
(See Rule No. 1 and Rule No. 2.)

Rule No. 10: Television is not real life. Your life is not a sitcom. Your
problems will not all be solved in 30 minutes, minus time for commercials.
In real life, people actually have to leave the coffee shop to go to jobs.
Your friends will not be as perky or pliable as Jennifer Aniston.

Rule No. 11: Be nice to nerds. You may end up working for them.
We all could.

Rule No. 12: Smoking does not make you look cool. It makes you look
moronic. Next time you're out cruising, watch an 11-year-old with a butt
in his mouth. That's what you look like to anyone over 20. Ditto for
"expressing yourself" with purple hair and/or pierced body parts.

Rule No. 13: You are not immortal. (See Rule No. 12.) If you are under
the impression that living fast, dying young and leaving a beautiful corpse
is romantic, you obviously haven't seen one of your peers at room
temperature lately.

Rule No. 14: Enjoy this 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 a kid. Maybe you should start now.

You're welcome.

Text By Charles J. Sykes

Printed in San Diego Union Tribune
September 19, 1996

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