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Old 08-21-2003, 11:33 PM
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What To Do With A Kid

I have a young kid that works for me. He's a senior in high school and he's worked for me off and on for about 2 years now.
This boy is, well let's say his elevator doesn't go all the way to the top, but it gets pretty close. He's a typical boy his age, all he thinks about is trading cars. He's got it so bad, that I can't keep up with his car trading. I feel kind of responsible for him, as his parents are boneheads and give him only bad or no advice at all.
This is the type of kid who really needs direction as he is extremely gullible and generally gets swindled out of whatever he has. He has absolutely no educational skills and can barely spell. He is a very hard worker, and will work his fingers to the nubs, as many kids will do, but then blows every dime he gets before his next paycheck. He will be lucky to graduate, but I feel he will get to walk accross the stage. I guess I am concerned because I know how tough it is to make it in this world when you have some kind of skills, but this kid is challenged. I was probably not so much different than he is at his age, as he has no direction at all although I do believe my education has helped me greatly.
I do not have any sons of my own, only 2 daughters who are much younger than Gary so my experience with helping out a young man is limited. What should I encourage him to do? In my mind, he will either end up a grunt somewhere, or with some work, he could end up in some type of vocational field. Of course, I realize that you've got to learn from your own mistakes and sometimes the hard way is the only way. I would like to get through to him to teach him the realities of life, but how should I go about it? He just gets that glazed look in his eyes like he sees stars or something when I talk to him.

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Old 08-21-2003, 11:38 PM
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military
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Old 08-21-2003, 11:44 PM
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Um.. i say.. spend the weekend with him.. take some time off work a day or so.. go to the dragstrip.. show him that people stay with there cars and acomplish things.. like some guy there prolly howns a 9 sec car.. think hed ever trade it?..

i think that would be a good start..

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Old 08-22-2003, 12:12 AM
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Give him some responsibilities around the shop, just little things would probably work for a 17 year old. Let him take on a little bit of everything that happens in your shop, just don't chance letting him screw up anything really important. Give him a chance to get a taste of eating a job that came back. If he's worth his weight, he'll stick with it as long as you can afford it. Teach him a skill that other numbnuts his age have no clue about. That would be a good confidence builder for him and make him a more competent worker for you. From the glazed look in his eyes, he obviously looks up to you, use that by setting the best example you can. The worst thing you could do is hold his hand, babysit him or hover over his shoulder while he's working. And don't ever spot him a loan 'till payday, he's 17, he has no bills or family to support right? He'll just have to get wiser with his money. Just remember, keep his job challenging and not patronizing and see how he takes to it. Does he show interest in any particular type of work being done in your garage. You could start with making him a specialist in a certian area that he shows an aptitude for.

As far as making a man out of him, start by treating him like a man. I'm probably telling you what you already thought of, I'm just backing you up on this.
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Old 08-22-2003, 02:52 AM
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Nairb...maybe he hasn't found his niche yet. When it comes to cars kinda point him in a direction where he can get something halfway decent that will go up in value the talk him into hanging on to it. Show him some examples of other people that have struggled that end up with a nice car. Like BstMech stated give him some task that will build his self esteem. I think everyone has a talent in life, but it's just a matter of finding what it is. Good luck with him, but don't worry yourself to death over it.

Kevin
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Old 08-22-2003, 07:19 AM
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I think you are already doing things that help him a great deal. Since he looks up to you, modelling is better than teaching. Try to stay alert to any particular "opportunity" that arises during the normal course of business where you can "teach" or model a positive response...then draw some attention or emphasis to that moment for reinforcement, but don't preach. I think you would call this kind of thing "mentoring."

Learning works so much better when it happens spontaneously. Unfortunately, sometimes we are so pre-occupied with "other things" that its real easy to miss a good opportunity. I once had a welding teacher tell me, "A lot more is caught than taught." If you conduct yourself upright, that is what this young man will "catch." (Yes I was a "shop girl" too)

You can also think about the many different ways you "learned your lessons" and which ones stuck the best. Having the ability to recall memories is a gift we often take for granted. But you know, that is a "powerful" component of the human machine.

I also agree that the military or vo-ed are choices to encourage. Sometimes I talk about my brother who is a Marine. He was not at all "book smart", and if he stayed in the civilian world, he would have turned into a thug. But he found his niche. He's several years younger than me, but now he's my hero, and I learn a whole lot from him!
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Old 08-22-2003, 07:58 AM
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I agree with AKM, military. When I was his age I had absolutely no direction either. I was a bright kid, but had absolutely no motivation to apply myself to anything. I joined the Air Force because I had no idea what else to do. I spent 4 years fixing B-52's, and became fascinated with the technology. Took some technical classes at the local JC and loved it. When I got out of the AF I completed my engineering degree, and I've had a terrific career and life ever since.

What this kid needs is to be on his own away from his bonehead parents to sort out his life, yet he's not ready to take care of himself. The military provides a great balance of independence and babysitter for kids like this
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Old 08-22-2003, 08:11 AM
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It sounds to me like you are doing everything you can to help this kid, encourage him to stick with one project and see it through this will give him a sense of accomplishment, and build self-esteem.

I agree with AKM, MILITARY, I have a nephew who was just like this kid, four years in the Army and he's a new kid with skills that landed him a good job. The Military also offers life long benefit's he cannot get anywhere else.
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Old 08-22-2003, 09:44 AM
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Kaylah has some great insight to the problem. I know of a few youngsters going into the service, It's not easy to go into the military, you have to be pretty sharp at something they need. It is a good idea, vocational school, military, hopefully he'll find his niche before too long, he is pretty young. Mentoring is commendable, not everyone would take the time. Dan
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Old 08-22-2003, 09:51 AM
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Nairb,

I've been where you are... Have been teaching Auto for a "few" years now, and every kid is different, except they all want to find what it is they they are best at. He's got the interest, so that is a start. He has also got you in his corner. While it may seem that you should be "doing" more, just the fact that you are interested in this kid's future gives him something that many don't have. You will make a difference for this kid because you are involved in his life, not necessarily for any "things" that you do for him.

It is always tough to watch kids blow money, make poor choices and get taken by others. Kaylah made a good point. He looks up to you, so a little, "its your money, but if it was me I would try to save it for..." comment goes a long way. It also helps to give some positives when he makes good choices. I am always honest with these kids, and they know that if I tell them that I think they are making a good or a bad choice, that it is upfront and sincere. By your description you already have this kind of a relationship with this kid.

I've had kids go into mechanical engineering, into repair, into custom shops, and some into tire shops and Wal Mart TBA/Lube shops. If they believe that they can work at being the best ______ what ever they can be, they have the desire to be around what they like (CARS!), and they are willing to work for a living, then they are successful. Folks want to trust the tech doing the oil change at Jiffy Lube as much as they want to trust their doctor. The honor is is how you do business, not what you do for business. We know that as adults, it just sometimes takes kids longer for this to sink in. Your example is obviously making the right impact on this guy.

What you are doing will help. It may seem that it is falling on deaf ears, but you are making a difference in this young man's life. As a dad, a citizen and a consumer, I sincerely appreciate people like you that invest in kids.

Thank you...
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Old 08-22-2003, 06:42 PM
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My opinion. There are three times in your life when you have to grow up and learn responsibility for yourself and others:

When you get married.
When you have children.
When you go into the military.
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Old 08-22-2003, 08:38 PM
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Make that four.

When you're tired of being a bum and decide to join the world.

How 'bout five.

When you're parolled from prison and your freedom depends on not being the bum that got you in prison in the frist place.

No, make that six.

It's easier to find a wife if you're not a bum or in prison (Bubba don't count).
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Old 08-22-2003, 09:57 PM
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i had no direction, not so sure i do now.
not sure the military is best, i would be in jail if i joined. and i considered it.
WHY does this kid trade cars,WHAT does this kid like?
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Old 08-22-2003, 11:28 PM
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try to treat the kid like hes 1 of your buddys n not just some kid that just works 4 u!!then i think he may really show u a respect and take ur advise instead of doin everything every1 wants him to do.when i was 17 i did the opposite that every1 wanted me to do.your not his father but hes way better off chillin with u than punks on the streets!!meet his parents and see what there all about also.u may even learn from the kid!! if every1 is hangin around ur shop shootin the **** and drinkin a cold !! toss him a brew 2 hell respect that . be his friend thats all u can do!!!
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Old 08-23-2003, 11:40 AM
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No brews in my shop. Putting the bottle to his mouth was not what I had in mind.
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