Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Trying to encourage young folks into action is tricky business. First of all it involves work. For most kids after being indentured servants to their parents for years, they are leery of grown-ups who are trying to get them to do something that doesn't involve fun.
While visiting my cousin Joe this past weekend I had an opportunity to play a little music with Janet's brother Ron. His grandson, who is in the sixth grade was there. "Have you ever thought about playing the guitar?" He scooted away from me as if I'd passed gas. "No, I'm serious. You can learn to play," I said. He told me that he was learning to play the trombone in band. "That's nice, but you can take a guitar to parties," I explained. "Girls love guitar players," I continued. "That may not be a big deal right now, but I promise you it will in the near future."
It was a smooth exchange and I think he realized "what's in it for him." That's important.
As I mentioned last night, I also did the "uncle" talk to Joe Joe, Jake, and Jake's girlfriend Tina. They put the "shields up" mechanism into place when I started talking about continuing school.
In retrospect, what I should have encouraged them to do is to figure out what they love doing and pursue that. School is important, but it's not the only way to learn. I'm reading the biography of Abe Lincoln and he was self taught. He learned everything from books.
I told the kids in an email today that they should do something every day to improve their skills. The self-help guru Jim Rohn said "If you work hard on your job, you'll make a living. If you work hard on yourself, you can make a fortune." I don't know that there is better advice to give young folks.

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