The other day I remembered reading something in a British newspaper attributed to Bill Gates which I found amusing and interesting, I couldn’t remember the exact words so I looked it up on the internet only to find that it wasn’t Bill Gates’ .. “eleven rules of life” .. but was an extract from .. “Dumbing Down our Kids” .. by American education expert Charles Sykes, a book first published in 1996 (I think that the reference to a ‘car phone’ and $40,000 rather gives that away).
The book is subtitled … “Why American Children Feel Good About Themselves But Can’t Read, Write, or Add”, but it’s eleven rules could just as easily apply to British kids today.
They are …
Life is not fair – get used to it.
The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.
You will NOT make 40 thousand dollars a year right out of high school. You won’t be a vice president with a car phone, until you earn both.
If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss. He doesn’t have tenure.
Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping they called it Opportunity.
If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them.
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 are. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent’s generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.
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.
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.
Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.
Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.
I have taken the liberty of increasing the list to twenty by adding a few rules of my own just to bring it up to date for our own half educated school leavers …
Sex education does not require homework.
Smoking dope and not wearing knickers will not make you a ‘super model’.
You need more than getting a tattoo and being able to spit and swear to play for Manchester United.
Video games may be fun, but in real life people die when they are shot.
Being a celebrity is not an occupation. You will not find it listed at ‘Jobcentre Plus’.
Wearing your cap sideways and ‘scratching’ Hip Hop may make you a ‘deejay’, but it will not make you a musician. It may also make you deaf.
Travel is supposed ‘to broaden the mind’, so remember that when you are laying in a pool of your own vomit outside a Benidorm bar.
‘Text speak’ is not English and should not be used on job application forms; and at interviews the answer to questions should not end with … “Yer no wot I mean ?”.
Be nice to old people, and they will be less likely to feel that …
… “youth is wasted on the young”.