Now that you’ve identified some personal interests in your teen, it’s time to look at the second element needed to create motivation in your teen’s life: using the family’s tools and strengths to create something tangible with his interest.
You will stack the assets and tools on top of your teen’s interest.
Let’s create a list of all the assets and tools within legitimate reach of your family. The first list was for your teen’s personal interests.
This second list means listing all assets and tools that your family owns or has access to.
Let’s stretch that access definition by including all the places, organizations, and clubs that your family currently can use.
Your list should be realistic as to what is actually accessible.
I’m sure you have heard your share of wonderful, but completely unrealistic ideas coming out of your young person’s mouth.
They are unrealistic because the tools and assets they would need are out of reach for them.
End result: nothing actually starts moving.
It’s too expensive. Too complicated. Too dangerous. Too time-consuming.
Too much falling on the parent to make things happen.
The solution for your teenager is to turn to your family’s EXISTING tools and assets.
You want to tap into what your family has access to now. Some things belong literally to your family, some they belong to friends or relatives, and some your environment is practically giving it to you for free.
Assets are resources to which your family already has easy access:
- Physical tools
- Local geographical opportunities
- Skills of parents, friends, and relatives
- Clubs, organizations, etc. that someone in your family belongs to
Here’s an example of one family asset list that you could generate:
✓ Live on a large rural property
✓ Father has extensive plumbing skills and equipment
✓ A few personal computers
✓ Video camera with tripod
✓ German-speaking grandma lives nearby
✓ Father and mother both speak German
✓ Mother also speaks fluent Spanish
✓ Father and grandfather have hunting guns
✓ Access to wilderness and hunting licenses
✓ Mother plays multiple musical instruments
✓ Multiple musical instruments in the home
✓ Son plays several instruments and can sing solo
The list starts growing the more you think about it.
Maybe some of tools or clubs are related to these categories?
As you make your list of all the assets your family can tap into, don’t forget to include the relationships you have with skilled individuals that your teen could use.
And list those advantages in your environment that could be potentially useful to your teen.
I’m speaking of all the advantages that are there because of your geographical location or because of your people connections or because of your business skills or because of your parental artistic skills.
Advantages could be such things as an uncle who runs a rental yachting business on the bay or a mother who is a talented piano player or the fact that your house is close in proximity to big-city events.
A caveat: yes, you can list Uncle George’s rental yachting business, but you don’t list it as an asset if grumpy Uncle George would not welcome family intruding on the weekends to visit him.
Are you short-changing yourself by not listing enough of those advantages simply because you are not yet taking advantage of them? Double-check with your spouse and children to see if there are some blessings you are forgetting about.
Good, now you have made a comprehensive list of the family’s assets and tools.
One more push: tack on a sublist.
Include on that list the favored academic or school goals that you are currently pursuing for your teen.
More precisely, list the academic goals that you want your teen to emphasize, over and above all other academic goals.
Treat these academic goals as a type of “asset”. It’s an asset in the sense that you have already invested in these goals and therefore could be used to help support your teen’s interest.
Example of Academic goals you may want to list are:
- Fictional writing
- Musical or sports proficiency goals
This list of academic goals is meant to capture the more traditional educational goals that would typically fit on an academic school transcript.
You may want to list specific writing, mathematical, science, or music proficiency goals.
Let’s see if we can tap into any of those academic goals as potential assets.
Okay, your list is complete and is looking very attractive with potential.
Here is an example of what a completed assets & tools list could look like:
- Living on a large rural property
- Father has extensive plumbing skills and equipment
- Personal computers
- Video camera with tripod
- German speaking grandma lives nearby
- Father and mother both speak German
- Mother also speaks fluent Spanish
- Father and grandfather have hunting guns
- Access to wilderness and hunting licenses
- Mother plays musical instruments
- Son plays several instruments and can sing solo
- Math academic goal
- Fictional writing academic goal
Just seeing the combined personal-interest list and the tools-and-assets list one sheet of paper will start triggering some emotional responses. This is good.
But wait, there is more!
So far, in becoming more of who he is, we have been focusing inward on your teen. His personal interests have been about him. Your family’s tools and assets are for him to use.
Now let’s address the part where he looks outward, so he can bring value to others beyond himself.
That comes in Step 3: Bringing Value to Others