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Some Valuable Lessons For All Our Kids Suffering From A Sense Of Entitlement

Andrea Ramsay Speers - Tuesday, June 11, 2013

I just got a "chain email" sent to me, and although I usually just delete them (sorry if you've ever sent me one, but I just don't have time to worry about all the bad karma I will generate if I don't immediately forward it on to 10 people), this one struck a chord.  I think all parents might want to post this one on their fridge, for reference whenever either your kids feel the world owes them a favour...or when we as parents want to spare our kids the pain and suffering of a life lesson.  These rules are important reminders for us that we do our kids no favours when we pamper them. 

It was written by author Charles J. Sykes, who wrote the book Dumbing Down Our Kids: Why American Children Feel Good About Themselves But Can't Read, Write, or Add.  The email I got attributed this list to a speech Bill Gates gave at a high school, but that is untrue.  (For the record, I always check out rampantly-circulating emails on the urban legends web site  If you've never checked it out, you don't know what you're missing.  Any mass email you've ever received has been examined on that site -- so if you're forwarding any form of mass email, check Snopes out first to make sure it's legitimate.)

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.

These 11 rules are the most commonly circulated, but there are actually three more.  Here they are:

Rule 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 13: You are not immortal (see Rule 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 14: Enjoy this while you can.  Sure, parents are a pain, school's a bother, and life's depressing.  Someday you'll realize how wonderful it was to be a kid.  Maybe you should start now.  You're welcome.

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Andrea Ramsay Speers • Psychotherapist & Parent Coach • Oakville Family Institute • 175 Glenashton Dr., Oakville ON • Tel.: 905-491-6949

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