Three hundred sixty five days, times 24 hours, times 60 minutes, times four years totals two million one hundred-two thousand four hundred minutes.
A high school student has roughly two million minutes to take classes, study, participate in extracurricular activities, work sleep and eat.
What they do during those two million minutes will impact the rest of their life. It will affect their ability to continue their education, their earning power, their standard of living, their ability to provide for the education of their children and eventually their own retirement needs. The question is: What are you doing to prepare your children for their two million minutes?
A recent documentary, "Two Million Minutes" examines the high school experience and preparation of six high school students from diverse backgrounds.
Two students are from an excelling high school in Indiana, two students are from a private school in India and two students are from an award winning high school in China.
All six students are at the top of their class and vying for acceptance into top universities.
The film takes a look at what they are doing educationally, as well as their leisure time, goals, aspirations and outcome relative to college entry.
It may come as no surprise that the students from India and China seem to spend a great deal of their extra time studying and preparing for the next level.
Certainly all six students are extremely bright and certainly all six students have outstanding futures.
However, there is a certain intensity (hunger if you will) in the students from China and India that clearly stands out. It brings to mind a recent book by Thomas Freidman, "The World is Flat." In his book Friedman points out that the advent of the Internet and a universal technology platform has "flattened" the economic and educational playing field.
What this means for the United States is, in a global knowledge and product economy we cannot afford to simply rest on our past laurels. Formerly third world countries were working hard to catch up with us both technologically and economically -- and they are filled with parents and young people who fully understand that if they do not make the cut to get an education, their future is extremely dim.
I'm not sure our kids have come to that reality yet.
Hard to swallow? Craig Barrett, the CEO of Intel, the number one microchip producer in the world said this: "Because of research and development and the availability of high level engineers, programmers and mathematicians in India, China and Europe, Intel could at this time continue indefinitely without hiring another American." He was quick to point out that they would rather not do that but the quote should be a wake up call!
Back to my original question: What are you doing to prepare your child for their two million minutes?
In the meantime, checkout this Web site: www.2mminutes.com and Fried-man's book, "The World Is Flat."
My answer to the question?
Push your kids academically and push them hard!
The world is getting increasingly competitive.