Wise words of a Nerd....

MY generation has to face the terrible truth no previous generation has had to - our children will not have it better than us.Their lives will not be easier, more affluent, more bountiful or opportunity-filled than ours.

MY generation has to face the terrible truth no previous generation has had to - our children will not have it better than us.

Their lives will not be easier, more affluent, more bountiful or opportunity-filled than ours.

The hope and optimism our parents had for our education, job prospects, home buying and health and wellbeing has been replaced with anxiety and even despair for our children.

But our offspring aren't tough enough to cope with a life of knocks, unemployment, starting at the bottom and tight budgeting.

They are the 'all about you' generation - the most indulged, self-centred, self-absorbed generation of children we've produced. It's not their fault - for once that whine is true. It's ours.

We've spoiled, mollycoddled and wrapped them in cotton wool, physically and emotionally. Some have never heard the word 'no' used to them.

Most Read

When these worshipped little emperors, indulged by cash-rich, time starved hard working parents, step out of the safety of their parents' 4x4 in their expensive trainers waving a clutch of A*s, leaving the comfort of their techno-fitted bedrooms and monthly allowance behind them, they are in for a huge shock.

Real life in an ugly, hard, competitive and fast-changing world will be terrifying after an education system which builds them up to believe they are invincible, incapable of failure or coming last.

How will they cope with a life they are responsible for that isn't as comfortable, effortless and plentiful as the life their parents have given them?

Cue parent panic. How do we prepare them for the worst when all they've known is the best - handed to them on a plate?

Encouraging them to fight their own battles will make them stronger more popular and more respected, according to new research.

But American software magnate, philanthropist, and chairman of Microsoft Bill Gates has the answer - a veritable soothsayer when he waxed lyrical two years ago to high school pupils about what they really need to know before being let loose on life.

If only teachers across the western world had seized his 11-point plan, we'd all be feeling more positive about the future.

Before the rest of us smelled the coffee, Gates was scathing about how feel-good politically correct teachings had created a generation with no concept of reality and how they were set up for failure in the real world.

His rules should be a cut-out-and-keep guide for parents to give to children. They should be laminated and stuck to every child's bedroom wall.

If they take heed, they may, just may, fare better than we fear and create a balanced, go-getting, philanthropic, altruistic society for the future. But I'm not holding my breath.

Over to you, Mr Gates.

Rule 1. Life is not fair - get used to it

Rule 2. The world doesn'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 parents' 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 school, they might 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 terms. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that in your own time.

Rule 10. Television is NOT real life.

Rule 11. Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.

Note, Mr Gates, a self-confessed nerd, has the billions to prove that the above does actually work.

Friends of Ronan Keating, former squeaky-clean family man, are claiming a 'mid- life crisis' is behind months of cheating on his wife with a dancer who looks like a younger version of his wife.

Like sex addiction, the 'mid life crisis' is a male prerogative. Have you ever heard of a woman claiming a 'mid life crisis?' We're far too busy mopping up men's crises and keeping it all together to have our own.

And we don't look for feeble excuses to cover up reprehensible immoral behaviour.

Keating is only 33, for heaven's sake. How does that qualify for a 'staring 50 in the face and in need of excitement' crisis? And, according to divorce lawyers, choosing another woman similar to the wife keeping his home fire burning, is most predictable.If it's not an affair, which, let's be honest, takes too much effort for some men, it's a hankering for a sports car or the need to wear chunky jewellery, three-quarter-length trousers and a baseball cap to fulfill some bizarre need to do something different.

If a husband near you looks like he's verging on a mid-life crisis give him something different to do to keep him busy.

Or you could, like more women than you might think, start to spy on your husband by checking his texts and emails.

He'll be far too distracted trying to disguise his bald patch and sucking in his mid-life paunch to clock that you're one step ahead of them.

So Samantha Cameron is refusing to move into Downing Street until a spanking new kitchen of sufficient image, quality and expense is installed?

Whether it's about a hissy fit or practicality, it's poor taste for the Prime Minister's wife, as the nation enters a period of austerity and make do and mend, to insist on costly cosmetic makeovers to suit her Notting Hill tastes.

Even if the Camerons pay for the kitchen themselves, as they insist they, it leaves a bad taste.

Scores families would love to replace their battered cupboards and dodgy ovens but have no spare money or jobs to pay for one or are living with the prospect of redundancy dangling over their heads.

It was a PR clanger within a whisper of George Osborne making his �6 billion public sector cuts announcement.

Let's hope she goes for a British kitchen and not the German, Swedish or US models preferred by the likes of her exclusive set. At least kitchen fitters will get some hefty work though.

As we enter a period of austerity where every penny counts, Lowestoft will come into its own.

It's well placed to be a shopping magnet for the middle-classes who love discount stores and flock to pound shops to nab a bargain.

Snobbery and sniffiness about budget stores is long gone. Aspirational shopping is dead, long live the bargain.

Stores like QD and Peacocks are adored by the middle-incomed in these 'why pay more?' times.

Budget is de rigueur. Aldi's beauty range is flying off the shelves after beauty writers revealed that a pot of �1.99 cream in there is no different from the �30 pot and Kylie Minogue just this week revealed her devotion to good old Ponds cold cream.

So the doubters who whinged about no high end shops moving into the town have to eat humble pie.

Every town has its day and today it's Lowestoft's. The Volvo and Audi cavalcade is on its way. It's the stores Lowestoft offers that will help draw in the shopping hoards as hard times bite - and everyone will benefit.

Cutting public spending is a start but people who lose their jobs need new jobs - and there aren't any.

So those made redundant will rely on an already creaking benefits system so the drain on the public purse isn't going to change that much.

A smart operator charged with drawing holidaymakers in to Lowestoft would have been working overtime this week cashing in on competitors' misfortune.

Prime holiday beaches in Cornwall, Devon and the Isle of Wight were outed to be spewing out raw sewage with dangerous levels of bacteria in the Sunday Times from data from the Environment Agency.

We're too shy to boast, gloat, crow and cry from the rooftops that Lowestoft has two of the cleanest, most golden and lovely beaches in the country with blue flags for north and south of the Claremont Pier.

It's a shame for Devon and Cornwall but could be good news for Lowestoft. All's fair in the battle for holidaymakers. We just need to bellow more about how good our beaches are.

Entrapped into selling access to her ex-husband for �500,000 - although I'm more staggered that someone would pay that for Prince Andrew than what his ex-wife did - Sarah Ferguson alleged she got 'zero' divorce settlement because Prince Andrew had no money of his own and has no money.

Funny how she was on holiday in France when she got the news she had been stung by the media.

For a woman with no money she sure has a lot of holidays.

Girls cost more than boys to bring up, according to a new survey.

Then I should be thankful I was blessed with boys - although I can't believe any girl would cost more in ballet shoes, eye liner and cropped tops than my two mini males who soak up a fortune in new cricket bats, pads, helmets, match subs, kit, coaching fees, trainers, spikes, gloves every year as they grow - and that's before we even start on football, rugby, tennis, school uniforms and diesel to drive them to far-flung pitches for games and training.

Encouraging children to keep fit, stay healthy - and sport is a great way to keep teenagers out of trouble - doesn't factor in the cost which, incidentally, can be phenomenal, especially if a younger son is like mine and objects in the strongest possible terms to constant hand-me-downs.

Girls more expensive? Impossible.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter