DFWChild / Articles / Uncategorized / Listomania


Every morning like clockwork, my 8-year-old son stumbles downstairs, flops on the couch and looks for the remote. 2-0-6. E-S-P-N. Like a growing legion of his buddies, ESPN’s most popular program, SportsCenter, is his breakfast of champions. Why? Because of a daily feature: Top 10 Plays.

We all adore lists. It’s programmed into our DNA. When I try to explain to him that the big dunk or game-saving interception took hundreds of hours of practice, teamwork, coaching and, you know, sweat, he simply brushes me off with a simple … “Yeah, Dad, but SportsCenter doesn’t show those guys.”

Good point. Lists boil down complicated matters and feed them back to us as chicken nuggets. Not that anything’s wrong with that, but that’s the culture we live in. Don’t tell me about the labor; just show me the baby.
Well, I’ve been researching some lists of my own. Here goes:

Top 10 Cities That Boast the Most Spoiled Kids
Congratulations, Allen and Flower Mound. Allen, you’re No. 5 nationally. You folks spend 85 percent more than the national average on your kids. You topped Beverly Hills and Miami Beach. Nicely done. Flower Mound rallied for 10th overall, but I think we’ve got what it takes to grab ninth by Christmas.

Top 10 Nations in Math & Science
Congratulations, United States, our eighth-graders don’t rank in the Top 10 in either category. Singapore (math) and Germany (science) are the leaders of their respective packs. This is a list we should hang on the fridge to remind us to think a little less about reality TV and a little more about word problems and Bunsen burners.

Top 10 Health Concerns for Kids
Childhood obesity is ranked No. 1 as 38 percent of kids break the scale thanks to too much sugar and not much else. After that, there’s drug abuse (30 percent), smoking (29 percent), Internet safety (25 percent), stress (24 percent), bullying (23 percent) and teen pregnancy (23 percent). That’s quite a list, one that scares the crap out of anyone who prides themselves on being a decent parent.

Top 10 Fattest States
Whew, we’re ranked out of the Top 10 here, but just barely. Texas comes in at 12th overall with Mississippi dominating this very undistinguished list. Let’s all make a pact to go one full week without eating out. OK, let’s go one full day without eating out. OK, let’s eat out at lunch but eat in for dinner.

Top 10 States for Producing College Football Talent
Yep, we’re No. 1, we’re No. 1! According to recruiting site rivals.com, Texas produced more Bowl Championship Series talent than any other state, with Florida, California and Georgia following hot on our heels. In the 2011 class, 125 players signed with Big 12 schools. Fifty-one others signed with other BCS teams. We’ve got the best coaches, best stadiums, best helicopter parents. What else do you need? Oh yeah, maybe some more math and science teachers.

Top 10 Most Followed on Twitter
There are more than 27 million people following Lady Gaga. More than 25 million following Justin Bieber. Yes, America, welcome to the beginning of the end. By the way, President Obama ranked sixth. Not sure if that’s good or bad, but the Olsen twins so easily outdistance him that it’s like me racing Usain Bolt. Speaking of me, I’ve got a whopping total of 173 followers. Thankfully, most are stay-at-home moms, so I’m learning tons about Pinterest. Awesome!

Top 10 Cities for Rush Hour Madness
Dallas-Fort Worth ranks fifth overall, just topping our ugly, redheaded stepbrother, Houston. We average 43 hours of gridlock each week. What’s this have to do with parenting? Ever try to get to a 6pm practice when you work 45 minutes away and the highways have been turned into bobsled courses?

Top 10 Reasons to Read Manifesto Each Month
That’s easy. It’s 1) helpful, 2) artfully written, 3) colorful, 4) hard-hitting, 5) topical, 6) insightful, 7) full of innovative adjectives, 8) about how to be a better (or at least cooler) parent, 9) on the freakin’ back page so it’s easy to find, 10) free! Now if only I could get someone to follow me on Twitter, I might give Oprah (ranked No. 7) a scare.

Rudy lives in Flower Mound, works in Fort Worth and plays everywhere in between. He has one wife, one daughter, one son, one published book, one obsession with sports and 20 million observations on marriage and children. Follow him on Twitter: Manifesto10.