As you've already discovered, anybody who wants (let alone actively attempts) to intervene in the raising, or even merely the guidance, of somebody else's child faces a tough dilemma if they lack some form of official standing as a teacher, youth counsellor, social worker, godparent, prospective employer, financial benefactor or other recognised stakeholder in the child's future. From my observation of others, as well as from my experience of being in a somewhat similar situation to yours, simply being a relative or friend of the family generally yields insufficient leverage.
One must also consider that the would-be influencer may be unaware of certain important factors in the situation that either seem irrelevant to them or have been deliberately concealed or glossed over by the individuals most concerned, as well as the risk that their advice is actually out of date or is in some other way not fully appropriate to the circ_umstances.
In sum, it's one of those situations where intervening carries with it a considerable risk of damaging the concerned outsider's relationship with the other family, but scant prospect of success. There's really not much that can be done to improve matters unless the child's home life is so deprived or abusive that it justifies alerting the police or social services -- but that's evidently not applicable to your friend's family, especially since he is no longer of school age.
As for the friendship between the two boys, it may be best for you to avoid getting involved. Unless there is some hazard like drug addiction that requires your direct intervention in their personal lives, there comes a point where your children's relationships with their peers must primarily be managed by them rather than by you. Learning to do that is part of their growing-up process, after all; it is in any case unrealistic to expect that the relationship between your son and his friend can remain unaffected by the current forking (or even forking-up) of their paths in life.
The robot strip's point is the reason I don't watch the news. Nothing to discuss. I like your link better.
I wish I'd had a better understanding of the deficit faced by kids whose parents did not attend college a few years ago. My youngest son's best friend early childhood is such a kid. He was homeschooled - as were my kids. I would talk to his mom and explain the program I was following (mostly one I developed myself - but not hard to replicate). She would react defensively and say "oh, yes. I do exactly the same thing." I knew she didn't - but what could I say?
Her son is a bright kid - but never took the SATs, has not applied to any colleges a full year after graduation (he is a year ahead of my son) and seems resigned to working low-wage jobs. He's just drifting. I've tried to prod him onto a college track, but I clearly should have been a lot more direct and forceful a lot earlier on. I had no idea how badly it would turn out. My son heads to Stanford in the fall. I'm not sure how well their friendship is going to survive the opposing trajectories. It's such an unnecessary waste...
Regarding success in college (or the lack of it), here are some interesting (albeit slightly off-topic) insights from educator Annie Murphy Paul regarding the learning context for students who come from families with no previous history of college attendance:
At its core that's true, but you're ignoring the legacy advantages kids of alumni have at many of the most prestigious schools (estimated as a 160-point SAT advantage here: http://www.businessinsider.com/legacy-kids-have-an-admissions-advantage-2013-6)
My wife is a PhD who has worked with students from Harvard who had crap-all for grades, but their parents went so they get to go. And given that a degree from Harvard virtually guarantees you a 6-figure salary, well you can see where I'm going with this.
Sometimes an issue can be oversimplified to the point where important arguments become trivialized.
Hi Scot - I like these. They're a variant of the classic "if you filter the noise, the actual message is contrary to common sense , or stupidly obvious. (Jay Leno, Dennis Miller, and Alan King made a living off of these, you probably could too if your day job ever runs out of steam :-) ).
But unless you have a clever comment on it, you need 2-3 tidbits per strip. Just using one item and then using 2 frames to accentuate the "Duh" ness is a bit weak.
For example (paraphrasing an Alan King bit).
He actually first reporting something (I can't remember the specifics) about prisons trying to improve their food. (frame 1)
frame 2: In other news - Last year, government spent $25K on a study to determine why convicts try to escape prison...
frame 3: "maybe they don't like the food".
PS - although the plane comment is fun to add, it makes the cartoon too timely to be later included in a book, etc.
Disclaimer - don't take cartooning advice from Internet trolls :-)
I have a theory that no matter how big a disaster is, the public will forget about it over time. There should be a simple formula for this. For example, if a plane full of people simply disappears without a trace and the authorities act as if they are from Elbonia from the outset, there is probably a month of human interest. Even that is pushing it, but as long as it isn't upstaged by a new story.
If the continent of Africa were to disappear without a trace, I think that would be good for at least three months, unless the Kardashians had another baby or something - then it would be two months at best.