In a speech to high school students, Bill Gates passed on to them the following eleven (11) rules. The rules come from Charles Sykes, author of “Dumbing Down Our Kids: Why American Children Feel Good about Ourselves but Can’t Read, Write or Add” (St. Martin’s Press, 1996). It appears that the rules did not come directly from this book, but were the basis of his book “50 Rules Kids Won’t Learn in School: Real World Antidotes to Feel-Good Education” (St. Martin’s Press 2007).
Mr. Gates talked about how feel-good politically correct teaching has created a full generation of kids with no concept of reality and how this concept sets them up for failure in the real world.
Rule 1: Life is not fair – get used to it.
Rule 2: The world doesn’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. He doesn’t have tenure.
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 are. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parents’ 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 tries 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/people. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.
If you can read this … Thank a Teacher. If you can read this in English … Thank a Soldier! And for life and everything else you have … Thank God!
Mr. Sykes had additional rules, three (3) of which 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 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 14: Enjoy this while you can. Sure parents are a pain, school’s a bore, 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.
To read an excerpt of “50 Rules” go to: http://us.macmillan.com/50ruleskidswontlearninschool.