They Won’t Learn This In School: It’s Our Job To Teach Them

This list may be internet urban legend with regard to the source.Whether it is actually from Bill Gates or not, it contains truths that folks, Black parents in particular, need to recommit to.

Bill Gates recently gave a speech at a High School in which he provided the graduates a list of important facts they did not and will not learn in school. He talked about how feel-good, politically correct education is creating generations of kids with no concept of reality. And he lamented how this kind of education sets them up for failure in the real world.

Real World Rules You Will Not Learn In School:

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

Rule 2: The world won’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 (getting rid of lice) thecloset 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.

Black folks used to know that nothing of value is without cost. Our parents used to tell us that we would have to work harder and better to get our share of the economic pie. This is still true.
We used to know that self esteem is based, and built, on accomplishment and earned respect, and that a job is an opportunity and not an entitlement.

Hard work and the pursuit of excellence are valuable efforts in and of themselves. The earlier we instill a work ethic in our children, the easier their lives will be– no exceptions. You can do for your children out of love. But you really empower them when you teach them to do for themselves…and for others.

Originally posted June 2nd, 2005


Hi. I stumbled across your blog and think you should update more often. There are few black blogs out there that deal with parenting and education. It would be nice to drop in and read.

Written by: Jennifer at 2005/07/15 – 18:50:16

2 – “Hard work and the pursuit of excellence are to be valued in and of themselves.” Very powerful thought foreign to our kids and very much absent from their education today. Is this blog mandatory for teachers as well as an opportunity forum for parents? It should be!!

Written by: John at 2005/07/20 – 02:39:44

3 – Hi Gina,It’s me, Julie. I have enjoyed all of your blog entries, and this one is no exception! I am a big fan of the “OFF” button on our TV. I found your writing while searching for, yet another, resource in my quest to raise my kids.Thank you for the entries. I look forward to reading more in the future.

Written by: Julie Cuzick at 2005/10/28 – 13:45:21

4 – Hey there Gina,It’s Lynne Dent here. I stumbled on your blog searching for “black parenting” issues and articles!!! What a surprise. I really like what you are doing here. I got married a few years ago and we’ve got two little guys, so your issues are right on target. We are in Wash DC, so are Kim and Randy. Please get in touch with me so we can catch up. How is the family? Lynne (

Written by: Lynne Dent Cowan at 2006/04/10 – 15:39:01



  1. Hi. I am visiting from the MBC, and I am following your blog. It looks good.

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