Category Archives: Successful Kids

Summer of Transition

In a prior post (Moving Out – With Eyes Wide Open) I mentioned that our sons were ALL talking about the prospect of getting their own place.

The plan is unfolding, perfectly 🙂

In late June two of our sons (Ian – the oldest and Evan – the youngest) moved-in to their own apartment, together. The move went smoothly and it has been encouraging to see them take on the new responsibilities of living on their own.

It was especially interesting to hear an observation made by Evan, when he said: I see all these dishes in our sink and realize that if I don’t take care of them, no-one else will.

YES! Music to my ears…

Earlier this week Aaron and I were talking and he said: Man, I REALLY want to get my own place!

I responded with: You probably aren’t far off from being able to do so. Let’s do some math.

We did, with the assumption that he and his brother Ethan would live together. And, voila, the math worked!

Aaron, Cindy and I promptly went to the large apartment complex, where Ian and Evan live, to view available units. Aaron found one that he liked. All he needed to do was convince Ethan to join him 🙂

That evening we all talked, reviewed the math and Ethan was on board. The following day the 2 boys met at the apartment complex, completed the paperwork, and were approved!

Move-in day is…TODAY…

It was especially interesting to hear an observation made by Aaron, when he said: Now I feel like I have a purpose for going to work. Before, I was kind of…just…skating. Now I can say: I have my own place! And, I am motivated to make a lot of money.

YES! More music to my ears…

Did you notice the common thread in the boys’ observations? They are both rising to the next level of accountability and SELF-motivation. You just gotta love that!


Because, until we adults (18+) are out there, on our own, we are participating in an entitlement system. That is, as human nature goes, until we are fully accountable for ourselves we shall, at some level, skate (a.k.a. take advantage of the entitlements “given” to us by our parents). I did it. You did it, or are currently doing it…

As such, we parents need to ensure we are increasingly enabling our kids as they age and then determining the appropriate “tipping point” for when it is time to encourage their launch from the nest.

Every situation is different. However, just because we can afford to let our kids live with us does NOT mean that we should. It just may not be the best thing for all involved.

When is it time? The key requirements would include:

  • Having a full time job. If they don’t have one, and aren’t still in school, they need one – RIGHT NOW!
  • The math works (income is greater than the anticipated living expenses).

That’s pretty much it…

In closing, life moves incredibly fast. In less than 8 hours Cindy and I will officially be empty nesters 🙂

We will now decide what happens next. You see, we have way too much house for only 2 people to live in. And, I’ve had just about enough of being the maintenance man, groundskeeper and pool boy 🙂

This will be the main point of discussion during our upcoming camping trip…

All the best!


Becoming a parent was the most extreme, life-changing experience I’ve been through. And, it was ALL for the good. Actually, the GREAT!!!

I recall when learning that Cindy was pregnant with our first son I felt a little, well, overwhelmed. I had many questions like:

  • Am I ready to be a dad?
  • Is now the “right” time?
  • Will I be able to afford the added expenses including dealing with the reality that we decided to become a single-income family, so Cindy could be home with the kids?

We found a “little” comfort in acknowledging the fact that people have been having children for thousands of years. And, why are we so different? So, stop worrying and get to it!

Before we knew it, we had 4. And, we are SO glad that we got’er done – EARLY. More on that, soon…

Looking back, we can say that everything came together through a TON of teamwork! However, we certainly weren’t convinced of that early on 🙂

As you may have read, in a prior post, it was about this time that I enrolled myself in an ongoing personal development program, which I’ve called my Boot Camp Experience (read about it by clicking here). This, along with the numerous productivity disciplines I implemented to drive myself, were all for a purpose: my new, highest priority. To provide for my family.

A key concern was, however, maintaining a “balance.”

Providence ALWAYS moves…

Shortly thereafter I came across the following quote in a magazine.

PRIORITIES – A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove…But the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.

It was presented in the image below, which I cut from that magazine, put in a frame and placed on a bookshelf in my bedroom, so that I would see it EVERY single day.


This brought a tear to my eye almost every time I viewed it because that little boy in the picture represented each of ours. And, I not only wanted to make sure I provided for their “material” needs, but also that I would be there for them – personally.

The ever-important balance…

So, why do I say that becoming a parent was the most extreme, life-changing experience for me? Before I answer that, I’ll say that I would imagine this was ALSO the most extreme, life-changing experience for MANY others who have had children.

You see, it served to fully jerk me into the world of ACCOUNTABILITY and RESPONSIBILITY. Because, I now had people (including a helpless little baby) fully dependent on me. No more screwing around. This is now serious.

Fast forward…

Over the last several years, as the boys have grown as tall, or taller than, me, this framed picture somehow slid to the back of my bookshelf.

Recently, Cindy and I were doing some “deep cleansing” of our house in anticipation of a large family gathering. It was at this time that we came across this framed picture. What a rush of memories, in terms of what it represented to me through-out the years and how important an image it was to keep in the forefront of my mind.

I took the faded picture out of the frame and scanned it for this post, to memorialize it. The cheap, dusty frame went to the trash.

In closing, use care to consciously set your life priorities (mine are outlined in an earlier post: Mind The Balance). If you do, and stick with them, you will, you MUST realize the outcome you desire.

What happens if you don’t set your life priorities? Well, quite honestly, someone else will. And, guess what they have planned for you? Not much…

All the best!

If they’re old enough to spend they’re old enough to earn!

One of the readers of this blog, a client contact, sent the following note:

I am curious to read about the experiences of teens getting into the job force – either part-time/full time, IT/Non-IT. With your four boys – I am sure you might have something interesting to share on this front. Love to read your perspective. Now, I am seeing my son go thru the job hunting process 🙂

My immediate response was to point her to the series of posts on “Landing a professional job“, to get things started. However, there is so much more to the question 🙂

Here we go…

I recall as a youngster, on my way home from school in the winter, with snow falling, commenting to my friends: Look at the money falling from the sky.

You see I had “clients” at a very young age who depended on me to shovel their walkways.

During the summer I cut our lawn and trimmed the grass around the house with hand clippers: weed-whackers weren’t yet invented.

I didn’t earn very much, but it certainly helped me to understand the value of a dollar – at a young age.

After I turned 15 my dad took me for a ride to our local Shop ‘N Save, where he introduced me to the store manager. Within seconds I found myself completing a job application and getting started the next day.

What just happened? 🙂

I’ll never forget my first day on the job. I learned how to properly “sack” groceries and assist customers to their vehicles. Then, after the store closed I learned how to stock and “face” shelves. “Facing” involves making sure all products are pulled forward to the edge of the shelf and stacked as neatly as possible.

Guess what section I was assigned? Baby food…

Do you recall those little jars? Not sure if baby food is still sold that way, but they were in my day. These things didn’t stack very well and when they were stacked they were definitely not stable. I knocked over and smashed at least 3 jars on my first night. During each breakage I had to do the walk of shame past my co-workers, to the back of the store to grab the mop bucket, walk back to my area, clean up the mess, then repeat the process to return the mop. How humiliating. I can still see my co-workers (many, buddies from high school) snickering the entire time 🙂

I thought for sure I was going to be fired, never again being able to re-enter the workforce. I found out later that this was expected (my initiation). And, I didn’t break as many as my predecessors had. So, I did pretty well after-all 🙂

After working at Shop ‘N Save for a couple years a buddy of mine, who worked for a mason and roofer, asked if I could cover for him while he was away on vacation. I gladly did so to haul in some extra cash ($5 per hour, under the table).

Little did I know how hard this work was going to be: mixing cement by hand, lugging cinder blocks or bundles of shingles up a ladder to the roof and whatever other miserable task that needed to be done…

However, 90% of the work was outside which I loved. And, more importantly, I was developing muscles 🙂

I ended up dropping the Shop ‘N Save gig and continued working as a mason’s helper each summer while I was in college.

Fast forward to current times…

The process of encouraging and helping (they would say “forcing”) our boys to get a job involved a slightly different tact for each.

Like me at that age, most teenagers really, really, REALLY do NOT want to walk into an establishment, seek out a manager, ask for a job application, complete it “on the spot” and then ask the manager for an interview to discuss job opportunities. It is just WAY too painful an experience.

So, what’s a parent to do, if they don’t do it themselves?

We must walk them through the entire process and get them a job!

This can involve visiting (with your teenager) the establishments you frequent (e.g., grocery store, Dunkin Donuts, Marshalls, gas station, etc.) or contacting your friend who is a general contractor.

I can tell you from personal experience, there is NOTHING like working for a general contractor to make a teenager realize how badly they need to go to college. They quickly come to this realization after they’ve been ordered to dig the “umpteenth” hole in the ground. Right boys? 🙂

A big thanks goes to Pete of Professional Building Services who, incidentally, runs an outstanding general contractor business in southern NH and northern MA.

Sometimes this search process will result in an application being filled out and the hiring manager saying to your teenager: “We’ll get back to you.

At this point you can hear the teenager’s deep sigh of relief and imagine the words going through their head: “Phew. We’ve done that and my parents are now off my back.”

They’ll then say something like: “I’m heading out now to hang with my friends.”

You see, once they’ve applied for a job they think they have it. It could be days, weeks or months away, but they are satisfied.


We go by the following guideline: You don’t have a job, until you have a job.

We then press on: Who are “we” going to contact next, until you are employed?

The good news is that through a combination of Cindy, myself and one of the brothers, each has found the other a job.

And, once they start hauling in their own cash they are hooked on the new freedom it provides. We, parents, then get to step aside 🙂

Finally, some may ask the following questions:

  1. Why is this so important?
  2. What is their motivation in this process to find and then work hard to keep their job?

My thinking is as follows…

Kids must learn the value of a dollar at a very young age. If they are old enough to spend it, they are old enough to earn it.

If they only spend, but don’t earn, they are a prime future candidate for the entitlement system, as they expect everything to be given to them. Totally unacceptable.

And, what is the motivation? Well, we “pretty much” ONLY provided the essentials to our boys:

  • Food
  • Decent clothing
  • Shelter
  • Health care
  • Anything we felt was educational

If they wanted the hottest new video game or toy, they could buy it with their own money. This also applied if they wanted a shirt, pants or sneakers that we felt was more costly than reasonable.

Birthdays and Christmases were an exception.

In closing, if they didn’t have the money, well – they had to earn it!

All the best!