This month and next, a lot of kids are going to be graduating — from high school, from college — and moving on to the next step in their lives. What advice could make the difference between a rich, productive life…and a wasted one?
* If you’ve been doing your job as an adult and parent, that’s a start. Advice by example is a powerful thing. So is a reputation for honesty and integrity.
*Keep telling your kids what’s right…even if they don’t seem to be listening. They are — it just may take years for it to sink in.
*Emphasize the importance of not wasting money. Start living frugally now, and you’ll learn patterns that will get you successfully through the rest of life. (Even celebrities have gained this valuable lesson.)
*Don’t waste time, either. You never know how much you’ve got left.
*Independence is a wonderful thing. Sure, it’s easier to live off someone else (especially your parents), and let them pay the bills. Taking care of yourself, though, gives you the freedom to do what you want. That’s worth existing on peanut butter sandwiches now and then.
*One quick decision can affect you for years — or even the rest of your life. You’ll be held accountable for what you did, regardless whether others did it, too. We saw this happen to one much-loved student who drank too much, and decided to sleep it off in her car. What she didn’t think about was that a key in the ignition (it was a cold night) translated out to a DUI in her state. She also didn’t know that a DUI would keep her from registering for classes at her university. Years of alcohol management classes, testing and thousands of dollars later, she is only now beginning to recover from her actions that evening.
Was it worth it? Our friend would be the first to say she learned from it — but no.
*Don’t be afraid to put off further education for a year or two. Getting a job will help you save for college — or grad school. (Provided you don’t blow the money, that is. Learning to save regularly now will keep you in good stead the rest of your life.) You might need some time to think about what you want to do when you grow up.
|Maybe it’s not going to be all fun and games, this being an adult…|
Or try these eleven rules from Dumbing Down our Kids by educator, writer and talk show host Charles Sykes.(Sometimes they’re attributed to Bill Gates — but it’s Sykes, all right.)
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 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.
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; 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.
Or, if you don’t feel like reading every rule, here’s the short version:
Grow up and take responsibility for yourself.
(More graduation advice here, including commencement speeches from famous people.)
Congratulations, and good luck. Now get out there…you’ve got a life to start living!