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Ask Dave

Motivating Others to Get on the Right Track

Cammie and her husband are trying help a young relative start his life out on the right track - again. She asks Dave for help teaching and motivating the young man.

QUESTION: Cammie and her husband are trying to get his 19-year-old cousin on the right track. He temporarily moved in with them about a year ago, and they tried to help him out and teach him financial responsibility. His dad is not in the picture, and his mother lives with her father. He got a job in a convenience store in February, moved out and did well for a while, but now he’s back. He’s broke, and his car is in need of repairs. Cammie wants to know what they can do to help without enabling him.

ANSWER: This sounds a little bit like a pattern, doesn’t it? The young man’s got a lot of things going on in his life. Obviously he wasn’t making much money when he left, so he’s got to work on his career path and his idea about what life looks like. So, you’ve got to start helping him think further into the future — on all levels.

If you guys want to give him a second shot, and put another deadline on the time he’ll spend with you and things that are expected of him, that’s okay. But I think you’re going to have to push on the career side a lot harder. He needs a career path and a little bit of a kick in the butt, too. It sounds like this kid hasn’t had the most stable life or the best adult influences up until now. I can sympathize with that, but what you’re also describing is someone who’s not running at full speed.

He definitely needs some help and some love, but I’d want this kid cutting grass, walking dogs and delivering pizzas immediately. He needs to understand that if he’s going to stay with you guys for a while longer, he’s going to have to work like a maniac and save up $6,000 or $7,000 so he’s got some cash in the bank when he moves out.

I’m going to send you three books this kid needs to read. You need to make it part of the agreement of him staying with you again. One is called The Go Getter. He’s not one, and he needs to be one. It’s a good little book about perseverance and self-starting. I’m also going to send you one called QBQ by John Miller. It’s about personal responsibility. The last one is called Rhinoceros Success, and it’s all about being passionate and making things happen.

This kid needs a few more life tools, but he also needs some love in addition to a shot in the arm. We’ve got to help him get things rolling and prepare him a little better than last time. If you don’t, he’s just going to try and boomerang on you again.