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Popular Kids Make More Dough Later In Life

Original post made by Chris Zaharias, Crescent Park, on Oct 23, 2012

New subject for Living Skills:

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In jest: I can see report cards ranking students' popularity so that parents can take corrective action. Perhaps counselors will suggest parents of unpopular kids leave home over the weekend so their kids can throw popularity-enhancing ragers.

Not so much in jest: I wonder if kids would be better off if we as parents focused less on buttressing their academic achievement by artificial means (after-school classes, watchdog parents, test prep classes, guided forays into extracurriculars & community service, etc), and more on a healthy social life?

Just throwing this out to start a discussion.

Comments (7)

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Posted by Jan H.
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 23, 2012 at 1:35 pm

It should stand to reason that the more popular kids would do well later in life, since they are more emotionally and socially healthy.

However, how do you account for the autistic kids who become successful in Silicon Valley, and then become billionaires. Bill Gates admitted in a publication a couple of years ago for parents of autistic kids, that he has Asperger's Syndrome. There are other Silicon Valley moguls whom everyone can think of who do not seem to be quite right, or socially awkward, but they are extremely gifted and become very wealthy, seemingly overnight.

Granted , there are varying degrees of autism , from highly functional to non-functional, but I do not know of anyone in the current crop of highly successful entrepreneurs who were popular in middle school, high school, or college, if they even went to college. Many folks have joked for years about Silicon Valley being "the revenge of the nerds".

To make matters worse, many companies, especially start-ups, actually reward bi-polar disease. People who have it can go into a state in which they can work days with very little sleep, and are extremely productive in their manic state.


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Posted by Bane, Conqueror of Worlds
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 23, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Wow you're smart. You think a homecoming king who played football in high school would receive a better salary than a qualified student from Stanford?

Being super popular does not mean success. I know plenty of "popular" people in high school who are now 30 and work as waiters.


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Posted by Bane, Conqueror of Worlds
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Oct 23, 2012 at 3:21 pm

Wow you're smart. You think a homecoming king who played football in high school would receive a better salary than a qualified student from Stanford?

Being super popular does not mean success. I know plenty of "popular" people in high school who are now 30 and work as waiters.


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Posted by Obvious
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Oct 24, 2012 at 1:29 am

In life in general, being well-liked is helpful. Often, the likeable guy gets promoted.

Poster, "Bane", is noting extremes, and of course, the bonehead jocks are not necessarily earning more than others. If there is choice between two candidates who are both qualified, the more likeable one will be chosen.

It's a shame PAUSD is teaching college-level material in high school (ie: regular chemistry is a college text) because our students don't have enough time to socialize. And being likeable is such an important trait for our children to have.

Chris, say hello to Nick for me.


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Posted by John94306
a resident of Barron Park
on Oct 24, 2012 at 1:34 pm

John94306 is a registered user.

PARTY AT CHRIS' HOUSE ON FRIDAY!!!!
Chris - let us know where to bring the kegs.

Re: the article, unfortunately, the data is not compelling.
The top quintile earns 10% more than the bottom quintile of popularity.
So, instead of making $90K, you make ~$100K/year after 40 years of working.
After taxes, the delta is minimal.

But I agree that as parents, we should foster our kids' abilities to get along with others well. Sometimes company hiring decisions come down to "Do I want to spend a lot of time with this person, esp. during hard times?" And on the personal front, the top source of happiness/unhappiness comes from relationships.

The question is how to we help all kids become "good at relationships".
How do you learn to be a good husband? A good father? A good friend?
On a societal level, just relying on instinct and upbringing may be insufficient as evidenced by our society's high rates of divorce, alienation, loneliness, etc...


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 24, 2012 at 2:11 pm

This thread is very funny, but there is a lot of sense in here.

Our kids (meaning PA kids) are often unable to do anything fun apart from summer, winter and spring breaks. Saturday mornings are often used for catching up on sleep unless they are used for sport, and often the kids involved in sports, or arts, are even more stressed than the non-sport kids and these activities are meant to be fun.

We need to be able to find time every week for kids to have fun. Old fashioned youth clubs, teen centers, Friday night hangouts, etc. are very necessary to building the ability of a great personality and character. Unfortunately, these non-competitive environments are few and far between in Palo Alto.


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Posted by Ducatigirl
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Oct 25, 2012 at 9:01 am

Maybe it is where I live, but I just see a lot of kids raised by nannies who are learning fluent Spanish

At the park, I am the only parent with a child, since the other ones are with nannies, almost always Latino or Tongan.

Does the stuation change after the child outgrows the nanny, or what? Do parents get involved with their offspring only in high school around here? Or only after the years of non-involvement begin to show? Or is it when the school schedule inconveniences their vacation time?

What I am seeing is reminiscent of the British Empire before its fall.


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