Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Prepare: How To Prepare Your Kids Pt 2

Yesterday, I posted this entry about Preparing your kids for an uncertain future.

Today, some solutions to the problem. No, I don't have any answers for what the "government should do" because a) I don't run the government and b) government messes things up generally more than fixing them.

Your child has to compete in a world and against the same world if that makes sense. A child in China, India, South America or the Middle East wants your child's seat in college, their job, their career and their lifestyle. Other countries and cultures have experienced what the West has had for over a century and now wants it for themselves even if it means putting your kid on the curb to get it.

The solutions for your child are not easy or politically correct. But look at what other countries are doing to compete and succeed against the US and other Western countries. I will just toss out "China and India" based upon current business and economic trends as well as personal experience and to keep it simple.

China and India are sending their children to school to learn business, English, industrial management, engineering, computer science, genetics, and medicine.

Americans and other Western nations are sending their children to college for degrees in urban, ethnic and gender studies, social work, urban studies, general studies, literature, art, and dance. Guess who will be creating jobs, staffing factories and managing the wealth of the future?

Chinese and Indians learn English so they can communicate with American companies and convince them to move their production to their countries. Americans learn Spanish so we can teach in public schools and communicate with the next person in line at McDonalds.

Chinese and Indians compete. They are not afraid to go head to head with any American company and do whatever it takes to win. Americans tell their children "everyone's a winner" and cooperation, not competition is the name of the game.

Chinese and Indians aspire to be wealthy, to move up the social and economic ladder to give their children more advantages when they grow up. Americans are constantly told that wealthy people are greedy and successful people are lucky. Americans are told the only way to make a lot of money is to win the lottery.

Chinese and Indians, while conservative in their business dealings, are more willing to take chances if it means a chance at greater wealth and success such as starting their own company or joining a smaller startup company. Americans long for secure jobs in government or in menial positions as long as they receive a regular paycheck and some benefits. Risk taking has become adverse to American culture.

Americans worship celebrities and entertainers so we have an entire generation which wants to be the next hip hop star, Disney actor or NBA basketball player. China and India want to be home to the next Bill Gates or Warren Buffet.

What do I tell my kids?

1) Concentrate on school. Get a degree, masters preferred, in a field with a future combined with a business degree.

2) Learn a profitable language for business. I would learn Mandarin, Spanish and Arabic as these are the fastest growing demographics with a customer base. Desired result: Sell them stuff and make money.

3) Be an entrepreneur. Work somewhere, learn what you can and start your own company, part time on the side or jump in with both feet full time. Even if you fail, it is better than being a failure for someone else.

4) Aspire to be better off than your parents. Be smart with money, invest in yourself, invest in growth and desire to be great.

5) Play sports. I can't stress how important this is for kids. Why? Life is about working for and against others to succeed. While individual sports like tennis, running and martial arts are good, the lessons learned from playing on a team are invaluable. In business, the most successful people I have met, especially those who succeed at office politics and competing for raises and promotions have been good at team sports.

6) Finally, take risks. Life is uncertain. Nothing is guaranteed. Put yourself out there and take a chance.

Raise your kids how you see fit. But remember, the world is not going to go away. Most of its citizens want what you have and are willing to do whatever it takes to get it.

I love my kids unconditionally. But, I would be much more proud of a child who starts their own business and works night and day, lives off Ramen noodles and is convinced they have the next great idea then an out of work poet who sleeps on my couch waiting for his great novel of prose to be discovered.


Anonymous said...

With all due respect, I find it interesting that you chose to compare us with two countries that have the most horrendous human rights records in recent history. Perhaps with all their advances, they will also teach their young the most important lesson of all---compassion.

JD said...

I compared us with what China and India are doing with their economies which are two of the fastest growing economies in the world. Our children are set to grow up in a very different and possibly depressing world. Thanks for reading and commenting.

jnbjcoy said...

Most countries, this one included, have horrendous human rights records. It is because governments kill people, starve people, torture people, and do "experiments" on people. The only thing that keeps this country from going way off the rails and doing too much horrendous stuff to it's citizens is the first two ammendments to our constitution. The "free press" is just about in the tank for liberalism, and our second ammendment rights are always under attack, so stay vigilent folks.

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