I know I’m guilty of it (pessimism, that is) every now and then, but just now I got one of those forwarded emails, the one that has like ten thousand email addresses in the header where it’s been forwarded a million times. When I get those, it makes me wish I knew who buys email lists to spam. Either way, the message that was being forwarded was the most miserable piece of crap I’ve read in.. well.. hours. There was a New York Times article about how much people hate being parents, but that was really nothing compared to this. And I’m including the name of the Southern California real estate agent who was the original sender, in case you want to hire an agent, you can avoid Mr Miserable

Sent: Saturday, July 10, 2010 12:18 PM
Subject: Please consider letting your children read this.

Rule 1: Life is not fair – get used to it!

Rule 2: The world doesn’t care about your 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.

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 from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent’s generation, try delousing the closet in your own 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 and 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.

If you agree, pass it on.
If you can read this -Thank a teacher!
If you can read this in English – thank a soldier!!!

Fred Konigsbach
Keller Williams Realty
(818) 584-1330

I don’t even know where to start, to respond to this garbage. And the person who sent it is … related to me. Very closely, I might add. When I saw the subject line, I was curious, but when I read it, I was mortified. Perhaps I should let my kids write that real estate agent a response. What a miserable jerk. I’m so glad I’m not his kid. I have a few rules of my own, for the jerk

Rule 1.  Life is fair. You get what you put into it, you reap the rewards and consequences of what you sow. In the end, you learn that what matters most is how you treat the ones you love because that’s how they will treat you

Rule 2.  Self-esteem is just a code word for families who want to teach their kids to pretend to be happy, without taking the time to learn what brings them joy.  Self worth and REAL esteem come from being proud of yourself and knowing that others value your contribution.  Surround yourself with people who inspire you to be better, so that YOUR real world will be a place you’re proud of and help the ones around you do the same.

Rule 3.  These days, everyone has a cell phone. it’s actually cheaper to have a cell phone than a land line and it’s portable. Smart financial decisions like that are more important than your salary. If you want to be vice president, go for it. Just don’t spend more than you’re making because credit cards are for losers. And sure- there are people who win the lottery, inherit millions or land a dream job. All you need to worry about it YOUR dream, and make it happen.

Rule 4.  School is bullshit, you’re right. And if you grow up and find that a J.O.B. doesn’t suit you either, then you’ll have to learn to manage on your own.  Self-employment isn’t for followers.  Everyone can’t be a leader. If you enjoy your job but your boss is a jerk, move on or view it as a stepping stone.  There’s no reason to surround yourself with miserable people- EVER. Life’s too precious

Rule 5.  If you don’t want to flip burgers, you don’t have to.  I wouldn’t want to contribute to the processed food industry, either.  There are a million ways to earn income and just because your grandparents settled for burger flipping, it doesn’t mean you need to. We’ve come a long way. burgers were new & cool in those days.

Rule 6. There are so very few REAL mistakes you can make in life.  You can always re-evaluate, re-analyze and turn a situation around. Always. As your parents, we’re here whenever you need a shoulder to cry on or to brainstorm a new path.

Rule 7. Before you were born, your parents had no idea what it would take to raise a child. mentally, physically, emotionally. There’s just nothing that can compare to the excitement of watching a new human discover the world.  They do the best they can, but sometimes forget that they can learn from you, too.

Rule 8. There’s no such thing as winners & losers. You just need to make sure that you’re playing a game you’re good at. We’re all made differently for a reason. Learn to appreciate the different skills & abilities of people around you, rather than dividing people up into winners or losers.  There aren’t 2 kinds of people in the world, there are millions.  Furthermore, there are no tests in real life, so you don’t need to worry about having right & wrong answers. In real life, people DO things, they don’t take tests all the time. Forget about the compulsion to know the right answer, and just enjoy the company you’re in. You never know when you might lose someone.

Rule 9. Every minute of every day is YOUR TIME. You decide what your life looks like. Your marriage (or not), your employment (or self-employment, freelancing, etc) is YOUR CHOICE.  If you’ve spent your childhood having all your decisions made FOR you, then you just might need to find yourself. Resist the temptation to trade one institution for another, you won’t find yourself in church. Do what makes you happy, do what brings you joy- THAT is who you are, and that is where you will find yourself.

Rule 10. Television is not real life. It’s entertainment. Even the news. But you knew that, right?

Rule 11. Don’t call people nerds. Unless it’s part of your relationship with that person whereby they have an equally oppressive nickname for you and you’re not offended to hear it.

If you agree- pass it on
If you can read this, you’re welcome
If you can read this in English, then you don’t need to know about free web translation services

11 thoughts on “Pessimism

  1. Tiffany

    What a great way to deal with those horrible forwards! I have never even thought of changing forwarded emails to emails that actually reflect what I would want said. I am itching to try this. Although, mine will not be quite so thorough as yours. Thank you for the great idea and your honest thoughts.

  2. Amanda

    This originally wasn’t meant to be negative. This e-mail is originally from a book called Dumbing Down Our Kids, Why American Children Feel Good About Themselves, but Can’t Read Write or Add by Charles Sykes. It’s about American education and how it focuses more on how a child feels than what a child knows. The author is extremely discouraged by the decline in American’s education due to a focus on feelings. Increasingly, schools are stepping into the home to take over parenting where the actual parents are too lazy, self-absorbed, or doped up to care what Johnny’s doing in school or to fulfill his emotional needs. This, of course, isn’t all homes, but I have worked in education and it is very real. These rules were meant as a wake up call to self-entitled brats who have grown up in this environment and think everything should be handed to them. If this isn’t your kids, great! Maybe your real estate friend should look at how he’s raised his own children.

  3. Kathy Post author

    Thanks for the background information, Amanda. I probably disagree with the original author, too. But it’s nice to know the agent didn’t spend his spare time writing this. Hopefully the rest of the book isn’t as miserable.

  4. Ashley

    “You just need to make sure that you’re playing a game you’re god at.” I think this is an ironic typo (if I’m even using the word ‘irony’ correctly). Just wanted to point it out for you. Honestly, I like your version much better than the Debbie Downer version.

    Also, I really love this blog. I’m a seventeen year old atheist (for some reason, I just couldn’t remain Christian knowing that Jesus was a carpenter – I don’t know why that fact changed my mind, I was 13, but I’m so glad it did) and I plan on homeschooling my kids someday. Thanks for the blog!

  5. Annalena

    I find it odd that the original e-mail/forward was sent on July 10th, my birthday:)

    I would say that I liked your version and would have loved to absorb it and live it when I was younger. I’d have to say that my childhood and the way I was raised resembled, not quite to that extreme, a version of life as the real estate agent and author of the book it’s based from want to see it. As Audre Lorde stated, and a quote I reflect on often,: “The true focus of revolutionary change is never merely the oppressive situations which we seek to escape, but that piece of the oppressor which is planted deep within each of us.” There are many of us who carry some piece of oppression, I know she was referring to racial and gender issues, but there is so much oppression through the media and our caregivers and sometimes spouses and so on that in order to transcend into our own, as in, “Finding Ourselves,” we first have to allow ourselves to shed the oppression we feel. That’s my long-winded thoughts that while I really enjoyed your version of how to take care of our children, it is sometimes very hard for me to get into the realm of free-love rather than authoritarian-type raising obedient children. I want my girls to be self-starters, motivated, interested in their favorite things, not as dull as me and so on, so I keep trying……….. Thanks again for the great words. I’m curious, how related are you to the real estate agent? It reminds me of so many hateful relatives I have. Especially the last part: “If you can read English, thank a soldier.” What does that have anything to do with English? I mean, my dad was a soldier and that’s why I speak English since my mom is German…but really??!! haha! Ignorance is bliss only to the ignorant!

  6. Kathy Post author

    Awesome, Ashley. I didn’t even catch the typo, thanks (and you did use the word ironic correctly 🙂

  7. Michelle

    Thank you! I am homeschooling my children this year and this will be a great discussion for us. I am going to give them both versions and then have them come up with their own… I am curious to see what they write. Thanks for the alternate version!

  8. K.

    I like your version better too…..but the thing is….kids still THINK like kids. They don’t know sacrifice yet. They (some) think if they do ONE good thing, they deserve a raise instantly! Kids are selfish ( most of the time), and a lot of kids are spoiled. A boss that has to continually tell you what to do isn’t a reason to quit….this guy is trying to run a successful business and keep clients and other employees happy….and might even be LOSING money and his company’s reputation because of crappy employees that think they can take a day off whenever they want or screw up and that’s ok….because you showed up every day LAST week.
    Heck, I know GROWN people that wouldn’t work AT ALL, even with a wife and two kids, because they thought they were worth more than the job was paying. I think that is what the ‘Burger flipping’ reference was about…..if you want something, you have to make the money for it. Your parents aren’t going to pay your way forever. You can’t live off of the government forever… Swallow your pride for a minute and make some money….if you do a good job, you might get a promotion! If the new guy gets the promotion first, it might not be fair (#1on the list), but it doesn’t mean you should throw a temper tantrum, quit, and end up in the same lousy situation you were in before. Hold your head up high and get the job done!

  9. J

    I am deeply disappointed in this website. I came looking for atheist homeschooling ideas, and instead fell into…whatever this whiny rant is. Also, life is NOT fair for most people, due to class/colour/ethnicity. Ask any ethnic person whether their hard work and respect counts as equal to that of their caucasian peers, and I bet they will tell you it doesn’t. Hell, ask Hillary Clinton how, despite the fact that she was highly skilled and an amazing fit for president, she lost to a spoiled rich kid who loves himself more than anything (well, except Putin).

  10. Kathy Post author

    J, what are you even talking about? My post wasn’t a ranty whine, the original thing I was responding to was far more ranty (You spoiled kids expect too much; work hard like me and my generation). Also, i never said life was fair, and I’m not sure what Hillary Clinton has to do with anything. Can anyone make sense of his comment?

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