50 Rules Kids Won't Learn in School
Real-World Antidotes to Feel-Good Education
By Charles J. Sykes
(St. Martin's Press, Hardcover, 9780312360382, 192pp.)
Publication Date: August 21, 2007
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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.
Charles J. Sykes is the author of five previous books: A Nation of Victims, Dumbing Down Our Kids, Profscam, The End of Privacy, and The Hollow Men. His columns have appeared in numerous newspapers, including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. A radio and television host at WTMJ in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and a senior fellow at the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, he is married and has three children.
"Sykes takes a hard-line but humorous approach to instilling the discipline, morals and good sense that keep kids from becoming 'sulky, self-centered, spoiled brats.'"