We’re way overdue for an update here at Thriving, but there’s just so much gloom out there that it became difficult to keep posting all the stories about high unemployment among young people, student debt levels that push young people to bankruptcy (or, sadly, suicide), and the ridiculously high rate of boomerang kids, those young adults who cannot make it in the world after college. (A combination of higher prices and stagnating and even shrinking wages makes certain of that.)

Even those “fortunate” young people who borrowed tons of money to get their degree and found a great high-paying job now struggle to pay the rent or mortgage payment because they have those monthly student loan payments sucking up chunks of their paychecks. Since the government took over 90% of the student loan market, these folks are basically slaves for the government. I don’t think most parents dreamed of that kind of future for their kids.

There are bright spots. My personal favorite stories are those that describe young people who are fighting to grow their own businesses, or those who are learning to build their own tiny homes so they can live on their own and be financially solvent. More power to them! I also enjoy reading about parents who are developing homesteads and putting their teens to work on them. They have the right idea: all young people need to work. If that work can’t be found in the marketplace (and increasingly it can’t), then work must be found at home.

The worst outcomes will be seen among those young people who don’t know how to work, those who have been coddled and spoiled, and those who plan to live off the largesse of the taxpayers. Parents who put their teens to work are doing their best to make sure their kids don’t fall into those three groups as adults.

Many of the events I wrote about in Thriving are not even news now; they’ve become common knowledge. Just yesterday Bill Gates openly acknowledged that machines are likely to make many more jobs disappear. What will we do? No one can say for sure, but I still believe that there are things we can do to help our kids survive and even thrive in such an environment; you’ll find that information in Thriving in the 21st Century: Preparing Our Children for the New Economic Reality.

Top Stories:

New jobs pay less so learn to handle money well.

Some young people are learning to buy almost nothing in order to make ends meet.

Google employees have lived in campers or cars on campus to save on rent.

Cheap tiny loft apartments draw young people quickly, create waiting list.

He earns 10K so he built a tiny house for 3K.

Some teens are learning to build tiny houses in high school.

Home sales are hurt by young adults who have student loan debt and can’t afford mortgage payments too.

Study finds fastest-growing careers don’t pay enough to allow home ownership.

Temporary work has become a way of life for many people.

Job opportunities for high school grads.

Too many STEM workers, not enough jobs.

Will half of today’s jobs be gone in ten years?

There is a future in teaching kids to grow organic food. (Great video!)

College dropout grows eBay business into a $100 million fashion empire.

Another college dropout founds free code academy with 26 million students.

Here’s one young man’s impassioned argument against college.

Mike Rowe discusses the high cost of college.

Young woman dies, leaving her parents with $200,000 student loan debt.

Only 1 in 5 college students earns a bachelor’s degree in four years:


Fall Update

Folks, I’m so busy with other writing projects, but I just have to come back here and share info now and then. Since Thriving in the 21st Century came out a while back, it gives me no satisfaction to say that much of what I predicted in that book has come or is coming to pass. It’s a challenging time for our young people; more people now realize that the college degree is no guarantee of anything, and it’s hard to find a decent job and just as hard to keep one.

That said, here and there we see rays of sunshine. More young people are learning skills that will be useful to them. More adults are becoming aware of what’s going on in our economy and are trying to change things. Parents must stay up to date on what’s happening so they can prepare their kids for an uncertain future:

Sign of the times: nearly 6 million (15%) young people are out of work but not in school.

Study shows 25% of 18-24-year-olds only walk five minutes a day because of technology.

One opinion re: the most important skill of the 21st century, followed by even more opinions in the comments section.

For the budding entrepreneurs in your family: Eight habits of extremely successful entrepreneurs.

Good advice: Break up with the public school.

Why would teachers’ unions oppose background checks on school employees??

In some neighborhoods, “work has disappeared.”

Scroll down to a great list of skills everyone should have in case the economy collapses.

True story of how a family’s business saved their son.

Woodworking is a wonderful skill for young people. This young man  teaches woodworking on YouTube.


Barbara Frank


September Update

Hope you enjoyed your summer! Here are a few points of interest I found over the summer for your perusal:

Affordable quality childcare for all” is, of course, code for “We want control over your children ASAP.”

But many of today’s teachers aren’t very good.

(Though someday they may be replaced by more competent, if not personable, tutors.)

What’s a parent to do? Why, join the movement that’s growing 7 times faster than public education.

Or, if you’re not up to that, find a very good private school that prepares kids for the future.

Happy September!

Barbara Frank

Thriving in the 21st Century

Update (Ignoring Common Wisdom Edition): April 3, 2013

News and Info for 21st Century Parents

This high school dropout is glad he quit school when he did.

This high school dropout is now earning nearly $100,000 a year.

There are happy college dropouts, too.

As for the grads, some of them still can’t leave home….

…perhaps they weren’t smart enough to earn a $10K degree.

What Homeschooled Kids are Missing Out On

“Teacher of the Year” seduces 15-year-old honor student.

You Can Say That Again!

Do not follow where the path may lead.  Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)


So, how are you preparing your children to thrive in the 21st century? Check out the links to the left for articles and information that will help you.

See you soon,
Barbara Frank

Subscribe to these updates via RSS or email: see your options in the top right corner.

Update: February 13, 2013

News and Info for 21st Century Parents

Got a teen with a talent they can teach? Here’s a business idea for them.

Some of the blame for job loss should go to technology.

Tell me again why all teens should go to college?

If your child is truly college material, be sure to check out the $10,000 degree (HT: Reader Venus)

If that article didn’t convince you, try this one.

What Homeschooled Kids are Missing Out On

Even school librarians are trolling for sex with underage students now (sigh).

You Can Say That Again!

The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education. (Albert Einstein)


So, how are you preparing your children to thrive in the 21st century? Check out the links to the left for articles and information that will help you.

See you soon,
Barbara Frank

Subscribe to these updates via RSS or email: see your options in the top right corner.