Friday, August 31, 2012


The one vice about television that I would admit in an open forum is my love of all things Nightline.  However, that love can rarely be overcome by logistics;  my eyes just don't cooperate at 10:35pm, so I have to record all of the shows to be watched at another time when caffeine is running through my veins and the sun is shining.

Literally, this week, while Mike was traveling, I caught up on two week's worth of shows.  I got to see the escalating reporting from Tropical Storm Isaac all the way through Hurricane Isaac landing.  I viewed reporting from the RNC before it was in session through to the acceptance speech Ryan gave.  And, I got to see an interview of a college graduate living at home with his parents.

Let me stop right here and make one thing perfectly clear:  when my kids go off to college, they are NOT coming home to their childhood bedrooms to live with us for an unspecified amount of time.

I will welcome them with open arms if they want to hang with us for a bit and then jet off to their own apartments.  I will prepare lavish meals for them to enjoy at holiday time.  I will even, with their permission, come to wherever they live and make big pots of food to leave in their refrigerators, on our dime.

But, I will not live with grown adults once they are supposed to be responsible for themselves.  I didn't do this;  Mike didn't do this;  our children will not do this.

The preceding rant was brought to you by a Mother who is currently living with a son who is going through puberty.  Any statement made by said person may or may not truly be what she will mean, do, or feel in the future.  But, at the moment, this is the GOSPEL TRUTH.

Now, I will give credit where credit is due to Nightline:  they are a "news" program, highlighting stories of current interest, and they do a darn fine job of reporting.  But, sometimes, the people they choose to interview to prove their point is just bizarre.

Take the college graduate living in his parent's basement they recently interviewed.  He came out of a four-year program with a major in theater and a minor in philosophy.

And that explains why, if you felt a horrific bump beneath your house last night, you thought there was an earthquake.  My jaw hit the ground so freakin' hard that it sent an aftershock across Dallas.

Dude.  No really, D.U.D.E.  Were you smoking dope when you declared your major?  Did it not occur to you, four years ago as the economy took a nose-dive, that this was a pipe-dream?

And, Nightline producers?  Were you smoking with Dude when you decided he was the BEST EXAMPLE OF A COLLEGE GRAD WHO COULDN'T FIND A JOB?  Do you mean to tell me there isn't an accounting major out there you could have interviewed, one who is busting his hump to get his first real, post-college, paycheck?

I don't have a horse in this particular race, but I certainly have an opinion (SURPRISE!):  This is a failure of society.  This is lack of direction from parents.  This may even speak to lack of direction by high schools and guidance counselors.

Have we gotten so far away from reality that we are willing to pay copious amounts of money, not to mention time, for our children to go to college and earn worthless degrees?  Or worse yet, to turn a blind eye to them taking out student loans for said degrees that will saddle them for YEARS with debt that they are unprepared to pay back?

Has our parenting gotten so shallow that we don't get into conversations about what colleges our children should attend, what marketable talents they possess, and what course of study they should pursue?  Or, are we afraid to hurt their self-esteem by suggesting a logical path that will lead to a reliable paycheck?

Have our guidance counselors stopped telling the truth, that the hard work of pursuing a degree isn't just about following a dream but figuring out how to support ourselves when we leave high school?  Are our high school students so woefully unprepared for college-level work that they don't step up to a degree with a bit more teeth?
Where were these folks when this young man decided to devote the better part of 800 days to pursuing what could best be described as a dream, fantasy, or celestial goal?

Now, when it comes down to brass tacks, Dude is responsible for his own life.  He is an adult.  He needs to figure out how he is going to afford his own place and buy gas and groceries and insurance.  To do otherwise should make him feel ashamed.

And, frankly, his parents have some part in this, too.  They are enabling him by not allowing him to do the hard work of becoming a man.  Whether they believe it or not, it is time for some serious tough love.

We were never, not once, ever told that work was going to be fun.  Frankly, work can be as side-splitting as a root canal.  It can be painful.  It can suck eggs.  It can be the last dang thing you want to do.

But until we live in Eden again, work exists.  It is a reality that money follows work.  And money is how you pay for the things you want and need.

If you CHOOSE to earn a degree that has limited potential, you get limited potential.  Unless, of course, you are one of the .000000000000000000001% of people who are fortunate enough to be "discovered".  And, in the meantime, you probably should buy lottery tickets because if that happens you will probably win the lottery, too, because you are really, really, really lucky.
Don't get me wrong:  I'm all for pursuing degrees that interest you.  I'm all for people following their dreams.  I'm all for people choosing a path that will make work as fun as possible.

What I'm NOT for is people who only pursue their interests and have no Plan B in place.  Or, who complain that Plan A isn't working out for them when they've studied "Bowling Industry Management", "Blacksmithing" or "Comedy Studies" (all "real" degrees, check it out if you doubt me).  Or those who refuse to start at the bottom of an industry because they think they should be paid $125K out of the shoot, when all their resume proves is that they can control a drive through at Steak and Shake.

Maybe it is time to throw some cold water on the graduates of tomorrow.  Maybe it is time to wake them up to reality before they are being tucked into their dorm room the weekend before college starts.  Maybe it is time to remember what it means to work in this country.

If you don't agree, be ready to house your kids until you die.

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