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What is the Matter with Parents these Days? – Part 4/4

Kids are immature, lack knowledge and a sense of reality—at least those American children that are sheltered from the harsh realities of life and competition.

Therefore, many childish dreams are totally unrealistic, such as becoming President of the United States. My wife and me know a family where the oldest son, now a graduate student at Stanford University, dreams of becoming the governor of California one day, yet he hasn’t joined a political party yet.

Anyway, for children dreaming of becoming President of the United States, the odds are almost impossible. After all, there is only one position for that job and since April 30, 1789, when George Washington took the oath of office as the first President of the United States, there have only been forty-four presidents counting President Obama.

Then there is the requirement that one be at least 35 years of age to qualify.  With 310 million Americans and two major political parties, competing to become the President of the United States is a long shot with a tough road to follow.

How about professional sports (another popular dream job)? Over the years, while I was still teaching, many of my high school students, mostly boys, told me that it was a waste of time for them to study because they were going to be pro athletes and did not need an education.

However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are only 16,500 jobs in competitive sports and the median pay is $43,740.  Most professional athletes do not earn tens of millions of dollars. Only a few earn that kind of money, but those few are all we hear about in the media. From 2010 – 2020, only 3,600 new positions will open up in pro sports or 360 a year (on average). The competition to land one of these positions in pro sports is fierce but not as fierce as President of the US.

How many plumbers are there in the United States? According to the BLS, in 2010, there were 419,000 plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters working in the US with medium annual pay of $46,660 per year. Plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters install and repair pipes that carry water, steam, air, or other liquids or gases to and in businesses, homes, and factories.

Using the BLS Website, we may quickly discover that the number of jobs held by accountants in 2010 was 1,216,900 and there would be 190,700 new jobs coming available between 2010-20 or about 19,000 a year, while the average medium pay for actors (another popular dream job) is $17.44 per hour with new openings numbering 260 per year (on average)—a ratio of 73 accountants to each actor.

I read once that about 40,000 aspiring actors flood into Hollywood each year to compete for those 260 potential positions that pay $17.44 per hour (on average).

Another popular dream job, mostly for girls, is to become a fashion model. According to the BLS, the annual medium pay in 2010 was $32,920 with about 200 openings per year (on average). On the other hand , median pay for barbers, hairdressers and cosmetologists (beauticians) is $22,500 per year and there are 10,000 new positions opening annually (on average)—a ratio of 50 barbers or hairdressers for each fashion model.

My son, who is currently in his thirties, refused to have a backup plan. Last I heard he was a waiter/bartender. The median pay for waiters/bartenders is $18,130/18,680 annually. He wanted to be an actor/singer.

I was a public school teacher for thirty years and the median pay in 2010 was $53,230. In 2004-2005, my last year in the classroom, I earned more than $80,000. There are 3,380,000 teachers working in the US public schools. Teaching was my back up plan. My dream was to become an author and there are about 145,900 working writers and authors in the United States and the median pay in 2010 was $55,420—a ratio of 23 teachers for each writer/author.

The odds favored teaching.

Just because you can dream, that does not guarantee that the dream will come true. I never gave up on my dream and after I retired from teaching in 2005, my dream became reality in 2008 with the first of three novels of “The Concubine Saga”. My dream was born in 1968 and became reality in 2008—it took forty years.

I’m glad I had a backup plan.

However, I can still hear the average American parent telling his or her child how proud they are that he or she is going to be President of the United States or a famous pro athlete, or actor, or fashion model one day, and then the TV is turned on to watch a popular reality show such as American Idol where the odds of winning are sixty-thousand to one but no one tells us that.

Return to What is the Matter with Parents these Days? – Part 3 or start with Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga.

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The Un-Civil War Between Old-World Values and New Age Parenting – Part 1/2

One definition of the word “SAP” means “a foolish gullible person”. I copied that from Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, and Larry Summers sounds as if he were a member of the “SAP” generation.

A friend forwarded a link to Larry Summers vs. Tiger Mom, which was published in The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on January 27, 2011.

Larry Summers, who has billed himself as a “hard ass”, was President Barack Obama’s top economic advisor for the last few years.

Summers recently left the White House to return to Harvard as a professor then had a debate with Chinese-American “Tiger Mom,” Amy Chua, who wrote an essay that appeared in the WSJ with a headline (she didn’t write), which said, Why Chinese Mothers are Superior.

Summers said why go through all the trouble to earn a university education when computers are eventually going to do the work that requires discipline.

He also said, “People on average live a quarter of their lives as children. That’s a lot. It’s important that they be as happy as possible during those 18 years. That counts too.”

Summers isn’t alone in his belief that children should focus on being happy instead of academic excellence.

The average American parent belonging to the Self-esteem arm of Political Correctness (more SAPs) spends less than five minutes a day encouraging his or her child to be happy, which explains why the average American child enjoys watching TV (4:29 hours daily); socializing on sites such as Facebook (1:29 hours); playing video games (1:13 hours); listening to music (2:31 hours) while managing to send an average of 50 text messages daily. Source: A Kaiser Generation M2 – Youth Media Survey in January 2010 (other studies support these numbers).

The War Between Old-World Values and New-Age Parenting will continue on April 25, 2011 in Part 2

Discover Bush and Obama’s Ignorant Gaff

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

This revised and edited post first appeared on iLook China January 31, 2011 as Amy Chua Debates Former White House “Court Jester” Larry Summers

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Posted by on April 24, 2011 in Education, Parenting, politics

 

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