Do I want my child to look like this?


University and college degrees. Highest earners

… or like this?


Keep Calm and Carry On. Both legs in one trouser leg

When the protests about THE SATS tests came up, I was ready to join in:


Let them be like this …

Have Fun. Sitting SATS UK

Now I’m not so sure.

We just got a link from his teacher to an online revision site. It’s for exams which start in ONE week!

No one mentioned ANY exams this year and, like an idiot, I never thought to check with the school. The boy was sitting in front of his computer screen and gaming with a remote for up to two hours every day in the holidays.  His thumbs have grown several times larger than normal. (At least I THINK that’s why).

Will he ever get qualifications and a decent job?

Giant thumbs. XBox thumb

Does it make a difference that he and my step-grandson (11 and 13) made 4,000,000,000 – yes that’s right FOUR BILLION!!

Unfortunately that’s four billion spinning gold STUDS.

NOT ££££, $$$$, ¥¥¥¥ or €€€€ that could combat poverty, help settle displaced people, eradicate disease in developing countries or even contribute to Jamala’s new frock when she presents next year’s Eurovision Song Contest in what will hopefully still be Ukraine.

Gold studs in sack instead of dollars and sterling

Luckily computer science and new technology are the most lucrative areas in which to make a fortune these days, so it’s going to be hard to persuade them to have less screen time when they should be having more, converting gold studs into real gold one day. Am I on the right track? 

I found this little chart which proves beyond a doubt that some sort of degree can help you on your way to having a pretty luxurious lifestyle.

engineering studied by world's wealthiest

To break this down, 22% of the world’s wealthiest billionaires studied Engineering at University, 12% studied Business and only 3% Finance.

But the main reason I don’t want the boys to look at this blog post, is because although 68% got at least a college degree, almost a third, 32%, didn’t get ANY qualifications after leaving school. That’s quite a few success stories of the self-made kind isn’t it? And if you lower your expectations to being an ordinary, ho hum sort of multi-millionaire instead, there’s probably a much higher chance of ‘making it’ without any further education at all. But lads, if you are reading this: stay at school, take the bloody exams and work as hard as you can without losing your ability to have fun and be really silly like me.

And why do they NEED to make so much money you may be asking? Because the cost of old people’s homes for retired Mums and Dads are going to cost about a million a year by the time I’m ready to be looked after full time, and isn’t that what having children is for, or am I missing something?

How strict are you?

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    1. Ha ha – yes indeed – I can imagine a new generation of coffins with thumb extensions in the lid. Or perhaps they could drill a couple of holes instead. The mind boggles. Thanks for writing Nell 🙂

  1. Jo, firstly thank you so much for finding The Prompt! I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve moved your posts into the most appropriate of the weekly linkies (totally my fault for accidentally leaving my ‘short-cut to keeping all the past prompt posts in one place’ linky open on The Prompt page – I’ve closed it now!). I’ve popped this post into ‘Choice’ and Trophy Kids into ‘Grow’ (I publish a dedicated linky post each Friday).
    Love this post, funny but quite a serious question behind it, helping our kids choose what to do. I also like the fact that as I have an engineering degree, as does my husband, there is still some chance that we might become rich..! Thanks for sharing with #ThePrompt, and hopefully we’ll see you back – I publish a new prompt every Sunday 🙂

    1. I’m honoured to have my posts in a groovy place on your blog, Sara. At least I think that’s what i understand you said being about as low tech as it’s possible to be. In fact I’m still struggling to put your badge on my margin despite trying for about half an hour. I shall persevere however as its fantastic to share the love through Linkys. Will look out for you on Sunday. Happy you like my post and am dead impressed to be corresponding with someone who has an engineering degree, you will be in SUPER LUXURY gummy mummy home one day. Mine was Fine Art and a fat lot of use. x

  2. Oh this is too funny. Love your drawings.

    I’m sure the time on the computer will become a valuable asset one day. I hope I live long enough for them to say “I told you so”. Computers are their future, one way or another. My degree must be in other, unless it gets squeezed in with engineering. Like engineering, the boys outnumbered the girls by a long chalk, so I’ll go and sit in that segement anyway. Good luck in his exams.

    1. Thank you so much Cheryl. Like you I love getting a comment on the blog – feels like I’m not just pissing into the wind – if you don’t mind the metaphor 🙂 What was your degree – sounds like something mathematical or scientific? Thanks for good exam wishes. I’ve tried testing him over the last few days as it’s revision week and he just says he knows everything already!??! Not lacking in confidence then.

    1. Hi Richard thanks and also for adding me to your favourites list. I count myself honoured. I might put #bestandworst hashtag on everything now and see who else I meet. I like your blog name – made me laugh. Have a good w/e mine always start on Friday. 🙂

  3. There’s always the argument about people who didn’t do exams, but I’m all for encouraging my kids to do their best. I don’t believe in revising for SATs though! Neither of my boys did and my daughter won’t either. It’s a fine balance between a bit of healthy stress and too much stress.

    1. So right Sarah in the end it’s a balance. My Step-Daughter is a teacher and says that only 40% of children in any school are naturally suited to the traditional classroom methods of learning. The rest learn best through movement, visualisation and sound to name but three, though we hardly dedicate any curriculum time to these. Overemphasis on the ‘core’ subjects which works for naturally academic kids (like my son and your children by the sound of things) at the expense of others. Thanks for your wise comments Sarah, I have to give myself a talking to when see myself turning in Mission Mum x

  4. Just loved this Jo. He’s ingenious your son! Reckon he will go far in life. We too have this issue with secondary school. I take it that from their short notice, they aren’t expecting our kids to revise. Thanks for linking up to Loud n Proud today. Love being entertained by your quirky posts 🙂

    1. Hi Suzanne, thanks for your thumbs-Up (without the extra muscles). Yes why did we only hear about exams so recently. At our school it’s uber competitive so imagine the parents would be subjecting little Johnny to thumbscrew (not thumbs again!) revision and endless tutoring for weeks in advance. One girl at least has been tutored for 7 years since she was 4yo in core subjects. Will she rebel or be PM one day? Good to hear from you – comments make my day x

    1. Yes, to be a financial success I agree that plumbing is going to provide a stable living, though as we know university offers a fantastic education that can open so many different doors to them – as well as providing knowledge for its own sake of course. Thanks for writing Suzi.

    1. Bearing in mind the rest of Europe doesn’t even start school till at least 6, then it is indeed ridiculous the teachers are putting him under that much pressure. We’ve been lucky in our son’s school that they’ve been happy enough when he got less than full marks.

  5. Dear Jo, as always, you made me laugh with your pictures & writing – thank you!

    Is there room for a rather subversive contribution to this debate? Could it be perhaps that there doesn’t have to be an either / or scenario? – that the luxury nursing home fees might get paid (hurrah) by children who can also throw a mean handstand (yay)?

    Funnily enough, the totally charming looking boy in Picture 2 is a dead ringer for my own son, Hen Minor when young. His relaxed approach to school life was all too meticulously documented in a long series of disapproving school reports all of which prophesied doom. Actually, Cassandra had nothing on Hen Mi’s teachers.
    Incredibly, this same son actually managed to graduate a few years later so for about 2 minutes he also looked like the beacon of worthiness you depict so nattily in picture 1. The resemblance soon wore off but still….grounds for hope?xx

    1. Thanks for your kind words lovely. Wouldn’t that be great if money was replaced with handstands! My ambition is to do a cartwheel but think I’m too old and would end up in A&E rather than nursing home most likely.
      Well done your Hen Minor. Goes to show and all that. At least he’s not messing around with those dangerous mortar boards anymore X

  6. Fabulous! Amazing artwork. We are in this very same boat as my daughter has SATs this year. Yes we want her to do well and yes, we will support her every step of the way but not to the cost of all else. Fortunately, the school are all about the whole child too. The word ‘stress’ is bandied about far more than I would like to hear among this age group. I am completely on side with you. Let them try their hardest and encourage them to do so but if they make it through sheer determination and grit, then bring it on. I have worked with brilliant CEOs and FDs that had no qualifications whatsoever. Not for everyone but I vote for life skills, determination and common sense above all else. Thanks for joining the #TweensTeensBeyond linky. It’s great to have you. Nicky

    1. Hi Nicky, Thanks for your vote of confidence and positive feedback about your daughter’s situation. Lucky her and you to have a school with such a holistic approach to education. Years ago my son aged about 7 was in tears playing Monopoly with his grandparents and they cut him no slack. He had to mortgage all his properties and went down in flames. He tried again though and did better each time so i don’t know if this is a different conversation but what you say about determination etc resonates. Without some element of ‘stress’ he’d still be lying in bed this morning staring at the ceiling. As would I! Look forward to coming back to TTB #TweensTeensBeyond Jo

  7. See, now….this is why I had ten children. Because I know that not all of them will attend a university. There might be some who will be motivated enough to do so, but then there might be others who are more laid back and it might take them longer to find their way in life. Maybe some might study a trade, maybe some will be attorneys or doctors or professional baseball players. Maybe some will choose to forgo a career and will be a stay-at-home mom for 25 years (like me) — but in having TEN of them, I assure you that I will be put up in the best of the best of nursing homes in my old age…because if all ten of them contribute even just $400 per month, then that’s $4,000 a month for my “retirement” — ha!

    1. Hi Katrina – now this is what i call spread betting! Good luck to you all and may your grandchildren when they come along, put some money in the pot too! jo #tweensteensbeyond

  8. Jo our house is a hotbed of exam angst at the moment. Our eldest is sitting his A’levels this year and is then hopefully off to University to study Economics & Finance (ha ha) which I notice doesn’t fare well on your pie chart! He needs to up his game on one of his subjects though as was very gently mentioned at parents evening this week. He is really clever with numbers but not words so the Geog A’level has been tough, but when someone says he won’t make it he gets his nose down to the grindstone just to prove them wrong. All the life skills are valuable but a good education speaks volumes in this competitive world. Thanks so much for joining us, it is great to have a fresh perspective in the group. Hope to see you again. #TweensTeensBeyond

    1. Hi Jo It sounds like your son has got a strong survival gene as in the ‘proving them wrong’ bit. Don’t worry about the pie chart – they’re much like teenage magazine astrology columns – not worth much. At least with finance he’ll have a handle on how much dosh he has left to spend on beer and books by the end of each term. Hope to come back v soon and thanks for the linky, it’s nice to know sometimes one isn’t just pissing into the wind with this blogging business. Jo #tweensteensbeyond

  9. I love the way you have tackled this issue. We have this sort of conversation frequently in our house. It was good to see that arts had a good old chunk of the pie chart too. I think this will continue to run and run as young people question if getting an education to degree level will actually get them what they want. I am a big fan of education for education’s sake but that’s a whole new conversation! Thanks so much for linking up at #TweensTeensBeyond, we really appreciate your support.

    1. My favourite educational gem: ‘find out what your child likes doing and encourage them in it all the way.’ Well it saves on tutors and tantrums 🙂 #tweensteensbeyond

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