Saturday, January 13, 2018


'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!'

                                                         ~ Charles J. Sykes author of Rules for Life 

This is the third blog Sally or I have written based on a series of 11 life rules written by Charles Sykes and referred to by Bill Gates, the Microsoft billionaire. 

Wow! That socks a punch, doesn’t it? What is it that leads young people to imagine they are going to immediately land a great job with dollars to match? Do they think that because of the amount of money their parents spent, or the sum of the student loans they were burdened down with to become qualified, it is their right? Are students being misled by colleges, which charge such inflated fees, to believe that there is a fantastic job just waiting for them out in the big wide world? WRONG! Even ‘doctors and lawyers and such’ don’t earn big money when they first graduate. They have to work long hours and work their way up to that great salary.

We have a young 23 year-old friend with a Masters Degree in Biochemistry seeking a job in statistical research in the health field. She finished with a GPA of 4.0 and she cannot find a job. Instead of sitting at home moping about it, she is doing a statistical data job while she keeps looking.

I think that many young graduates have not been appropriately prepared for the real world by their parents. It is not the school’s job to teach them that all is not fair in the working world. That is the parents’ responsibility. Perhaps our values have concentrated more on ‘our rights’ than on ‘earning the right’! 


1. The appropriate knowledge or qualifications.
2. The appropriate experience.
Acquiring the experience is very frustrating when you can’t get a job in the first place! However, there are a number if things parents can do to prepare teens for getting good, well-paying jobs.


A very important early exercise, that can begin as early as elementary school, is to encourage your child to think about careers they may like to explore. Take them to such places of employment to check them out. In fact, expose them to as many jobs as you can. Introduce them to people you may know in those fields so they become familiar with possibilities as well as requirements. In doing so, your child will more likely seek the kind of knowledge and skills for that vocation rather than waste your money on general qualifications that will not entice an employer to choose them at the interview.


 As they are thinking of vocations walk them through an employment scenario. Have them pretend they are an employer in a job area of interest. Get them to write down what this prospective employee would need to know and do. Include physical aspects, knowledge base and value expectations. Then ask your teen if he/she would get the job with their current knowledge/skill set? If not, what do they need to do to prepare more thoroughly for a successful interview?

When I was looking for jobs years ago when jobs were more abundant, I succeeded in everything I applied for. In the current work climate, this rarely happens. We can significantly enhance our teens’ chances by helping them explore their options early, getting them into voluntary work for the sake of ‘experience’ and teaching them crucial values such as honesty, loyalty, obeying authority and respect.

Good preparation will have your children feeling confident and willing to earn their way into satisfying jobs.

 Rules for Life are written by Charles J Sykes
Comments by Sally Burgess, Forefront Families


'The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to
accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.'
                                                              ~ Charles J. Sykes author of Rules for Life

Following the Vietnam War the hippy movement was at its zenith. Free love, peace and ‘yo bro’ were shouted out and put into practice. Dr. Spock had previously introduced very liberal parenting and schools adopted airy-fairy subjects and feel-good philosophies.
We are reaping the negative results of all this today. Self-esteem became everything and people became so ‘precious’ making our country the most highly- offendable nation on earth. Suing became rampant and being ‘politically correct’, so as not to make anybody feel uncomfortable, has made us afraid to speak out what we believe is the truth. After all, we might be called ‘hateful’ if we don’t agree with the crowd or a particular faction in our society.


It is important for our kids to feel good about themselves, but not for mediocre effort, and we do this. Sally belongs to a national organization that has a major competition every year. Hundreds of people pit their talent against one another. Instead of a first, second and third placement in each category they find a way of giving a trophy to just about everyone who participates. The awards ceremony takes around six hours! It is ridiculous and, despite Sally’s protests at this indulgent behavior, they continue to do it.

Why is this so silly? You may not feel it is silly, but that’s because you were raised in this indulgent culture. It makes everybody feel as if they have done a good enough job. Believe me. I have sat through several of these competitions and there is no way many of these people should be rewarded for their performance. I believe it is often the same with sports’ team prize giving events.
In our schools it is the same. A’s and B’s are handed out liberally like Prozac. Kids get to believe that their performance is good enough, when it’s not. At home we often praise kids for performance of chores or behavior when it is based on low expectations. Parents and teachers are not doing our kids a favor by letting them feel good about their accomplishments if the standard is below par. The real world expects far more.


Employers are finding that young employees are ill equipped for the working world in that they expect high remuneration for little effort, are often unreliable, move on if the boss expects ‘too much’ and they are often disrespectful. Parents, it is our job to shape our children to meet the expectations required in adult life and in employment. The schools are there to reinforce what we, as parents teach our children, not to do the job for us.


We need to hold back on praising our kids. I am a huge believer in praise, so I am not void of feelings. It is better to regularly encourage our kids and be honest with them. If what we asked them to do is not of a high standard yet, tell them you are pleased with their effort so far, but this or that still needs to happen. When they do achieve that higher standard then lay on the praise. If you praise before it is due, a ceiling has been set and a child will feel that no more effort than that is required.


When your children conform to your boundaries and standards then praise them. Children feel great when they are pleasing you. Set them tasks that, when finished, are an accomplishment born out of hard work, great attitude and tenacity. Here you are developing a positive work ethic that also has to be seen in your performance. You are fitting them for the real world. I thank my parents that this is exactly what they did for me, and it has had its major payoffs. Hard work and accomplishments make us feel good. We will never find our purpose or reach our potential through mediocre performance and hapless ‘feel good philosophies’. 
Written by Sally and Brian Burgess, Forefront Families

Friday, January 5, 2018


                                                          ‘Life's not fair. Get used to it'.

                                                                                ~ Charles J. Sykes author of Rules for Life
This is the first blog Sally and I have written based on a series of 11 life rules written by Charles Sykes and referred to by Bill Gates, the Microsoft billionaire. We have read extensively and have lived a long time, but neither of us have ever seen or discovered that life is fair. Nowhere, not even in the Bible. In fact, in the New Testament it tells us, “In this life you will have troubles.”


People without a strong faith and those unfamiliar with the Bible often say, “If God is a God of love, then why do babies die or good people get cancer, while those who do wrong live on unscathed? Plainly, it’s a result of original sin. Bad things do happen to good people. You can read about it in the first few chapters of Genesis. Then you might say, “That’s not fair!” You’re right. It’s not fair. But that is life, so let’s understand it and move on.

We often hear our kids saying that things are ‘not fair’, usually in relation to having to do some work around the house, or not being able to do something another sibling has been allowed to do. We said it as children. You said it. It’s going to be said again.


You don’t have to wait until the next time you hear the expression, “That’s not fair!” echoing through your house. Instead, in an appropriate moment when your children are in a receptive mode, have a discussion about fairness. Use words that are appropriate to your children’s ages and understanding. Start by answering their questions by saying, “You think it is not fair that you have to do chores around the house when your friends don’t have to do anything.”


Here is an answer: “We are teaching you that in the real world nobody is going to do everything for you. Life has its fun times and its work times. It’s mainly work, so get used to it. It is unfair that your friends’ parents are not preparing their children for real life! Nobody is going to want the person they marry to be lazy, or unable to do some of the chores that are necessary to run a good home. It’s not fair that one person has to do far more work than the other because that person was not properly trained by their parents.”


You say, “It’s not fair that we have to do so many chores.” An answer: It’s not fair that parents have to do most of the work around the house as well as work to keep us all fed, safe and comfortable. We know that the work has to be done to run a smooth home and provide the love, support and environment that will help you in your development. When we all share the load, you learn new tasks and we have more time to do fun things together.


You may say, “It’s not fair that some people don’t have to study hard to get good grades at school while others have to.” An answer: “We are all born with different levels of intelligence and opportunity. What we expect of you is to do the very best you can with what you have been given. That’s all. You cannot do any better than your best and that is all we expect of you.”


You may say, “It’s not fair that some people have got more money, nicer homes, flasher cars and are able to travel more than us.” An answer: “These things come from getting the best education possible, working very hard, making wise choices, taking risks and seeing opportunities around you. There are some people that are fortunate enough to be helped in life by being given financial help from their hard-working parents or by receiving an inheritance. However, most of us don’t have that opportunity, so it means working hard. That’s why we are training you to be skilled in many things that will make your life better.”


You may say, “It is not fair that some people will be going to Heaven and the others to Hell.“ An answer: “God loves us all, but He has given us a choice either to follow the way He showed us through Jesus, or to ignore Him. If we live our own way and not accept the gift of life He offers, then we have made our choice and have to accept the consequences.”

 Rules for life written by Charles J Sykes
Comments by Sally and Brian Burgess, Forefront Families


~ Charles J. Sykes author of Rules for Life

Bill Gates is obviously one of the world’s most financially successful individuals, ever. He is also wise and endorsed Charles Sykes' ‘Rules for Life’ to help young people face the real world of adult work life and responsibility.

For these rules to be effective throughout life, parents need to begin to address each one with their children from an early age.

The headings below are the titles for each rule and the following 11 blogs expand on each theme.

We suggest that you consider each rule and decide, as parents, how you will best prepare your children to respond to each one.  We will also provide helpful suggestions on each rule over the following BLOGS. 

                                               RULES FOR LIFE

                                                                  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 are. 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 
lightest 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.