Growing up in the 1960’s and 1970’s, life was relatively simple then. It was still OK to hitchhike a ride from strangers, we didn’t have mobile phones or X-Box games. Colour TV didn’t exist for much of my very early childhood and we learned to create and keep ourselves entertained. We understood respect for elders, and that if we wanted to be successful, we had to work hard and study to have good results.

Today’s kids now have the very latest iPhone, iPad, and Laptops. As a parent, try telling your child that their iPhone is not an essential “accessory” they must have and watch the melt-down happen in front of your eyes. 

So how have we managed to breed this new generation of kids with their sense of entitlement … As parents, we really have no one else to blame but ourselves. We raised our kids. Sometimes we abrogate our responsibilities because we’re too busy trying to make enough money to pay for our children’s “essentials”. We do our best to provide our children with all the things we never had and in the process, we sometimes end up with ungrateful children who take things for granted.

Charles Sykes, the author of the 1996 book Dumbing Down Our Kids: Why American Children Feel Good About Themselves But Can’t Read, Write or Add and 2007 book 50 Rules Kids Won’t Learn in School: Real World Antidotes to Feel Good Education provided for high school and college graduates a list of  things they did not learn in school. In his book, he talks about how the feel good, politically correct teachings created a generation of kids with no concept of reality and set them up for failure in the real world. Below is just 14 out of 50 Rules:

Below is just 14 out of 50 Rules:

  • Rule 1: Life is not fair; get used to it.
  • Rule 2: The world won’t care about our 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 our 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 your talk about how cool you are. So, before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent’s generation, try delousing the closet in your 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. (And before you roll your eyes to this suggestion, just remember that one of the biggest “nerds” is now one of the richest man on this planet … Bill Gates, a “nerd” who is now making a difference in the lives of so many people.)
  • 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 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 bother, and life is depressing. But someday you’ll realize how wonderful it was to be a kid. Maybe you should start now.

Perhaps we should have raised our kids not to have more than we had, but to be better than we were. That’s not about having the latest high tech iPhone or flying Business Class on holidays. It’s about building character and teaching them the skills to be great leaders.  It’s about understanding that someone with a different skin color who speaks a different language is not a lesser person than you … They are just different. It’s about developing their EQ (emotional intelligence) – the #1 predictor of professional success and personal excellence. EQ is critical to their success.