Thought for the Day: Life Isn’t Easy

There are some things that children should be learning
in school, but they aren’t. Not all of these lessons
have to do with academics. Here are some basic rules
that may not have found their way into the standard
curriculum. Some (perhaps all) of these should be
credited to Charles Sykes, author of "Dumbing Down Our

Rule #1: Life is not fair. Get used to it.

Rule #2: The world won’t care about your self-esteem.
It will expect you to accomplish something before you
feel good about yourself.

Rule #3: Sorry, you won’t make $40,000 a year right out
of high school. And you won’t be a vice president. You
may even have to wear a uniform that doesn’t have a Gap

Rule #4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait ’till
you get a boss. He doesn’t have tenure, so he tends to
be a bit edgier.

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 paying your
bills, cleaning up your room and listening to you tell
them how idealistic you are. And by the way, before you
save the rain forest from the blood-sucking parasites
of your parents’ generation, try cleaning out your

Rule #8: In some schools they have abolished failing
grades. They’ll give you as many times as you want to
get the right answer. This, of course, bears not the
slightest resemblance to anything in real life.

Rule #9: Life is not divided into semesters, and you
don’t get summers off. They expect you to show up every
day. For eight hours. And very few employers are
interested in helping you find yourself. Do that on
your own time.

Rule #10. Television is not real life. Your life is not
a sitcom. Your problems will not all be solved in 30
minutes, minus time for commercials. In real life,
people actually have to leave the coffee shop to go to

Rule #11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up
working for one.

Rule #12: Enjoy this while you can. Sure, parents are a
pain, school’s a bother, and life is depressing. But
someday you’ll realize how wonderful it was to be a
kid. Maybe you should start now.

Alan Smith, Helen Street Church of Christ,
Fayetteville, North Carolina. To subscribe to "Thought
For the Day," send a blank e-mail to:


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