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Time for a heart-to-heart talk with kids as school kicks off

As the new school year kicks off this week, parents from all over Thurston County are telling their children: "Everyone needs a good education - even if you already know everything."

Foremost in every parent’s mind this year is how to put your children into a high-performance learning mode. This is important because if they score better on standardized tests and get into the better colleges, they will meet filthy rich kids who will later give them plush jobs because they know the truth about what really went on during that fraternity party. And that means you’ll be retiring early, so let’s get busy.

The first step is to gather your kids up — if necessary, use the Jaws of Life to extract the computer keyboard and video game controller — for a heart-to-heart talk about the importance of a wellrounded education.

PARENT: Kids, you’re going to look back on these school years as some of the best days in your life.

KIDS: But we get bullied in the playground, and I’m embarrassed about having zits everywhere. What’s so great about that?

PARENT: This may be hard for you to understand until you’ve had group therapy and Prozac, but believe me, it’s better than having to get a job.

KIDS: What’s a job?

See, that’s exactly what’s wrong with kids these days, they don’t realize how good they have it.

When I was a kid, we only had three television channels and two of them were fuzzy. We had to hike across the entire living room, regardless of the weather, sometimes wearing crampons, just to change the channel. My parents expected me to play outside and walk to school every day, regardless of the weather. I even rode my bicycle without a helmet. Video games? Ha. I had to sneak into bars at age 10 just to play the pinball machines. But I digress.

The next step is to remind your kids that a good education will help them find a job they absolutely love, which is a good thing because they’ll be working longer hours than anyone else in the world. Yes, we’ve successfully passed the Japanese for the average number of hours spent at work per year, and that represents a lot of personal e-mailing on company time.

Finally, sit down on the couch with your kids and read to them from a stack of classic books. Remind them that you had read “War and Peace” twice before finishing the third grade.

PARENT: OK, who would like to read first?

KIDS: Too bulky, dude, can you, like, text it to my cell phone?

At this point, it’s important to stay quiet about having no idea how to send text messages or take pictures with cell phones. Stay calm, and remember: School is where your children try to do their best, except when their friends are watching.

ET CETERA

Watch for a special collector’s edition magazine that tells the story of The Washington Center for the Performing Arts in next Sunday’s newspaper. The 24-page glossy publication commemorates the center’s 25th anniversary, which is being celebrated with a week of Silver Gala events beginning Sept. 23. The magazine includes the fond memories of the center written by 18 Olympia-area residents. ... The annual Spaghetti Bowl kicks off Friday as the Olympia Bears take on Capital High School Cougars. But it all begins with a spaghetti dinner from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Olympia High School commons sponsored by the downtown and west side Rotary clubs. The money provides scholarships for OHS and CHS students. Tickets at the door. ... South Puget Sound Community College has reinvented its annual Harvest Moon Celebration. This year’s event on Oct. 2 will be an interactive showcase featuring nine different programs at the school, including desserts from the baking and pastry arts program, and songs from the musical “Grease” from the performing arts program. The event raises money in support of the college.

George Le Masurier, publisher of The Olympian, can be reached at 360-357-0206 or glemasurier@theolympian .com.

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