Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Kids these days: Oy vey!

I like to start every new year with a new attitude and new energy. I'm pleased to announce that, so far, here on the 3rd day of January, I am still in that mode.

As I chatted with my daughter last night, discussing which teenage necessities (car, gas, insurance, cell phone, spending money, work/school clothes) Dad was willing to provide, and which ones she will need to earn on her own, it struck me that she needed a bit of a reality check. I don't think the timing could be better with a fresh year starting, so I modified an old list of rules I found on my hard drive. This should provide her a starting point.


Life is not fair - quickly familiarize yourself with that concept.

It's important to have confidence and feel good about yourself - but 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 corner office until you earn both.

If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss. They don’t have tenure.

Flipping burgers or mopping floors is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for it - opportunity.

If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault. Don’t dwell on, or whine about, your mistakes... learn from them.

Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. Part of how they got that way was 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 bedroom.

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 attempts as you want to get it right. 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; you'll need to 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 their jobs. You won't be made to swallow bugs or worms in real life, but chances are you'll have to swallow your pride and a good portion of crow. THAT is reality.

Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.


Spinning Girl said...

RULE 12:

In the real world, you still have to go to work when it snows.

Unless you are a teacher!

Ha ha ha ha ha haaaaa!

Used Hack said...

Spinning Girl's really funny. :)

I'd love to send this to my daughter. I wish I had known these things 20-something years ago too.

Trinette said...

What a guy! To give this good advice to Courtney while she is still in her mid-teens. Teigan is just coming to realize many of these things as a 21-year-old single mom. Maybe I'd done better by her if I'd been wise enough to offer her something like this when she was 16.

Chris Cope said...

"...they’ll give you as many attempts as you want to get it right. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life." --- Unless you're defense secretary for the Bush administration.

Amandarama said...

Spinning Girl is right! Especially because even if your school doesn't call the day off because of snow, sometimes you find yourself with 30 or more accumulated sick days...:)

Lightning Bug's Butt said...

These were magnificent, Dave. I kept saying "Amen!" after each one.

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Wow! Tough love. But wise. Nice stroke, Dave.

Ari said...

Most teachers don't have tenure either!

gary said...

I don't mean to burst anyone's bubble, and I don't mean to sound pesamistic...as Dave knows I'm not...but having teenagers myself, and having been on the soccer field with them for half my life ...the last rule will always and unfortunatly seem to be that in todays society:

Rule 12 or 13 or where ever you left off: "In real life, if you can get a teenager to even read these rules, they'll either not understand them, or simply not beleive them".

It would certainly be a true gift to a teen, if they were able to take just a few of these to heart and learn form the mistakes of their elders!!! I hope that Court not only reads these, but asks you to explain pratical application to a few of them.

Lee Ann said...

Absolutely priceless information!

Anonymous Shannon said...

I like number one the best. My father used to tell me, "Fair only exists in fairytales!"

~The Goofy Ass Chick said...

Dave, this list made me think back to the past of when I was Courtney's age. I guess I'm still a kid at heart too. And Gary is right, it would be amazing if she read this list and took it to heart. I know I never believe anything my parentals told me until I learned them on my own and they said, "I told you so."

Green-Eyed Lady(GEL) said...

Excellent post. As the mom of 2 teen daughters, you're right on target. (I'm here via the Cerebral Outpost.)

CP said...


And I am heisting a copy of it to email to my 18 year old.