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:


Creating an Occupation

In my book, I encourage young people to become entrepreneurial. Sometimes this can involve creating your own occupation. That’s what this famous person did when he was young; he created a job that he still holds, it didn’t require a degree, and he makes over $1 million a year.

Food for thought, eh?

Are Healthcare and Education Industries Slowing Down?

As I wrote in Thriving in the 21st Century, healthcare and education are two of the few growth areas seen in this economy. This has been true for quite a while now. But it appears that things are changing. A combination of lower birth rates and Obamacare seem the most likely culprits, but whatever the causes, this does not bode well for future employment in these areas.

I believe healthcare workers will continue to be needed as the enormous Baby Boomer generation ages, so it’s still worth encouraging kids to go into this field if they’re so inclined, and particularly if they’re gifted in the area of caring for others. That said, the pathetic performance of other segments of our economy, when combined with news like this of declines in the best-performing sectors, makes it clear that raising kids with multiple skills as well as an entrepreneurial bent (side businesses could keep them from going hungry) is more important than ever.

Weekly Update: April 11, 2012

News and Info for 21st Century Parents

How the Internet promotes true education, by the always thought-provoking Fred Reed.

Here’s a great little tool that will give you the true total cost of attending a specific college.

More young entrepreneurs are leaving the U.S.

Some schools are (finally!) promoting practical skills again.

Employers say: “No matter what your degree is, you need to be computer system-literate, and your scientists and engineers need to be able to communicate.” (Yes, those are two of the Seven Strengths needed for Thriving in the 21st Century!)

What Homeschooled Kids are Missing Out On

Homeschooling means never worrying that your teacher moonlights as an Internet porn star.

You Can Say That Again!

To put a kid with an IQ of 150 in the same room with a barely literate affirmative-action hire clocking 85 is child abuse. (Fred Reed)


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 next Wednesday,

Barbara Frank


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Weekly Update: December 7, 2011

News and Info for 21st Century Parents

A voice of experience shares advice for young people wanting to thrive in this global economy.

The job outlook continues to be gloomy; this is why we need to teach our children entrepreneurial skills (so at the very least they’ll have something to tide them over between jobs!)

Teach handwriting before keyboarding if you want your kids to know how to do both.

College orientation can often be quite frightening when someone’s agenda is involved.

Many young people are taking it on the chin in this economy.

What Homeschooled Kids are Missing Out On

When you’re homeschooled, your mom doesn’t get in trouble for defending you against bullies.

Parents Who Didn’t Get the Memo

Why waste time giving our young daughters practical skills and a good education? The most important thing is to make sure they know how to find the best salons for their bikini waxes.

You Can Say That Again!

At the minimum, a mechanism such as tuition tax credit or educational voucher ought to be available to allow parents and children who care to opt out of failing schools. (Walter E. Williams)


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 next Wednesday,

Barbara Frank


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