Monday, April 28, 2014

Avoiding The Million Dollar Mistake

Graduating from high school is an absolute must.

It’s hard to believe that some school systems have a rampant problem with students dropping out before finishing high school. Why the rush to join the real world? What a high school drop-out will soon find out is that school is actually so much easier than what comes next. Finding a job, finding a place to live, the brutal truth that it’s very expensive to support yourself…or the flip side which is the astronomically high rates of high school drop-outs who find a free place to live in the prison system. Not exactly Club Med, and a criminal record is definitely a setback when it comes to finding a job. It would be nice if we could get students to understand that education is the Golden Ticket that anyone can have. Not that we can all afford an expensive education, but getting a high school diploma is the absolute rock bottom foundation for going anywhere in this world. Making the choice to drop out of high school is a million dollar mistake.

Beyond academics, high school should also provide the foundation for developing important life skills, like cooking, managing money, and manners. Educators have an incredible opportunity to truly make a lasting and significant difference in the lives of students. In the end, does it really matter if students have spectacularly high grades and test scores? If they can’t handle money, prepare healthy meals, or if they don’t have the proper manners to succeed in the workplace, they will be lost. 

Some people would say those lessons should be taught at home, but it’s a well known fact that many students follow the lead of their peers and it helps if young people have access to the same information. And let’s face it; children don’t always value what their parents try to teach them.

Here are four things that every young person should understand beyond reading, writing and arithmetic:

Be respectful and polite. Good manners go a long way toward getting ahead in life. Being considerate toward others is a must. It’s not hard. You just treat people the way you’d like to be treated. That includes how you approach people online. Social Media means everyone knows everything about what you are saying and doing. Never send a photo you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see. Never write something you wouldn’t want your grandmother to read. Never ever bully someone in person or online. It’s like telling the world that you are psychologically damaged. Only troubled people feel the need to make someone else feel bad. You get what you give so be sure to make others feel they are valued and worthwhile. And in case you don’t know this already, don’t talk on your cell phone in front of other people unless absolutely necessary, and never have a conversation on your speaker phone in front of other people. Lastly, never chew gum in public. It lowers your visual IQ by at least 50%.

Value your health. Learn to cook so you can eat healthier meals. Stay away from things that are bad for you. Be active, even if it’s just 20 minutes a day. Choose to be with other people who also value their health. Protect your body and stay away from danger. Don’t drive while impaired or distracted. Nearly 20,000 people a year lose their lives in traffic accidents attributed to driving while impaired, distracted, or sleep deprived. Thousands more are seriously injured.

Be smart with money. How you spend money is an indication of your values. And saving money is an indication that you are on track to become wealthy. It’s not about what you make. It’s about what you spend and how you spend it.

Stay in School. Ben Franklin was right when he said "An investment in knowledge pays the best dividend."

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