Charles J. Sykes offers fifty life lessons not included in the self-esteem-laden, reality-light curriculum of most schools. Here are truths about what kids will encounter in the world post-schooling, and ideas for how parents can reclaim lost ground---not with pep talks and touchy-feely negotiations, but with honesty and respect. Sykes’s rules are frank, funny, and tough minded, including:
#1 Life is not fair. Get used to it.
#7 If you think your teacher is tough, wait until you get a boss. He doesn’t have tenure, so he tends to be a bit edgier. When you screw up, he’s not going to ask you how you FEEL about it.
#15 Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping. They called it “opportunity.”
#42 Change the oil.
#43 Don’t let the success of others depress you.
#48 Tell yourself the story of your life. Have a point.
Each rule is explored with wise, pithy examples that parents, grandparents, and teachers can use to help children help themselves succeed---in school and out of it. A few rules kids won’t learn in school:
#9 Your school may have done away with winners and losers. Life hasn’t.
#14 Looking like a slut does not empower you.
#29 Learn to deal with hypocrisy.
#32 Television is not real life.
#38 Look people in the eye when you meet them.
#47 You are not perfect, and you don’t have to be.
#50 Enjoy this while you can.