The Best Gift We Can Give... Help a Kid Have a Good Life.

By
Real Estate Agent with Lyon Real Estate, Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento Area) DRE# 00809499

The World May Be Different Because I Was Important in the Life Of A ChildI see a boy.  He is sad.  Failing school. Challenging to adults. Sometimes quiet and uncommunicative. Bored. But mostly the F's slap me in the face. Something is wrong here.

So I ask him if he willing spend Thursdays with me - on his short school days. "I guess".  I'm sure The Kid thinks it's punishment to have to spend his free time with me.  But he is willing. His dad agrees.  Dad is a little in the dumps himself, after some family tragedy.

We go out to eat.  We talk.  I ask him questions about stuff.  And I tell him stories.  Many are the same stories I told my daughters - the ones that prompted this from one of them "I love that I can relate any life lesson to some story from your past, because you always teach through storytelling."

We talk about Moms and his rocky relationship with his. "You will never change other people.  You can only change yourself.  Let's talk about what you can do differently, and how you can react differently. Let's see if that helps."

We talk about kids at school, and making friends. I think that kids who have a solid friendship base, and get along will do better at every part of life.  I imagine his life may be lacking in this.  Just for this week, try not criticizing kids at school.  Instead say something nice, and see if you get a different reaction.  No one like to be criticized.  In fact, instead of being impressed at the person who criticizes, we hate them. 

I asked him how it went the next Thursday.  "Well, I didn't get around to being nice to anyone.  But I did stop being mean." Yeah, what happened?  "I got invited to a skating party..." Really? Hmmm....

We work on the other principals from How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.  Be nice, compliment, make eye contact, ask questions of other people.  Be more interested than interesting.  Ask about other peoples interests and be willing to learn from them.  Say thank you.  Show gratitude. You know... the basics of social grease.

Next Thursday we are in the kitchen making chicken drizzled with a raspberry vinaigrette. Someday you will make this for a sweetie and rack up uber points! The iPhones in our house keep buzzing.  What is that - it's getting annoying?  "It's me.  I'm getting Facebook friend requests. I got 3 today." A smile, chin down, eyes peering at me sheepishly.  A happy boy.

Yes.  This stuff does work.

I email his teachers.  Give them a little background, and let them know I am working with him. They enthusiastically respond back, yet I am not really seeing results in his grades.  Homework is still a challenge.  It's all still boring.

His dad agrees to counseling.  He goes. He tells me he has been depressed - a big admission for a young kid.  I tell him it will only work if he is willing and will answer her questions with blunt honesty, and tell her the truth - whatever that is.  That he has to dig deep, and use her.  Otherwise it's a waste.

After the second week (3 sessions) I go with his dad to the school's open house.  Math Teacher: "I have seen a change in him the past two weeks.  He is sitting up front and is engaged.  He even is taking notes. But he is so far behind there is no way he will pass the state exam and move on.  He will be repeating this class." Bummer.  What if he works hard and passes, will he advance?  "Yes, but that's impossible.  He is too far behind. It won't happen." His other teachers report a similar change in attitude and attentiveness.

So we talk about life and how the choices he makes today will create his tomorrow.  He chats with my daughter's friend, who is an engineer of gizmos that fly in the air. Stuff like Ghostbusters might use to fight aliens.  You know. THAT stuff.  Heat gain is an issue. The Kid is engaged.  "Why don't you install a transistorized fan to help with the heat gain? You could...." He starts trying to solve the engineering problem.  I tell him he has the mind for engineering.  That HE could design gizmos for futuristic outer space stuff.  But he needs math.

I take him on a walk on the river and talk about the water flow.  Where the water goes.  And where it comes from. He doesn't really know. He is bored. I offer to take him to San Francisco and see where the water dumps from our river.  He wants to play on the computer instead. "Maybe another day." I want to slap him. Doesn't he recognize what a gift I offered him?  He has never been there. I tell him this is the background knowledge that every person needs to be able to enjoy life.  To be able to understand things later.  To be able to have a good life. Ya gotta know the basics.

His dad and I both tell him that if he can get crackin and learn a years worth of Pre Algebra, and can pass the state exam with a 70%, he won't have to take it again with the punky little incoming baby brats. We believe he can do it, but it's up to him.

Mid June I wait for the notice of how he did on his state math exam.  He thinks he passed.  His teacher says impossible. His Dad calls me... "76%.  He did it!" Unfrikkenbelievable.  But it shows what he is capable of. And it shows him how easy it actually is.  You just have to do it. I'm proud of you! More importantly, he's proud of himself.

Last week, he texted me.  He was on his way sailing with my husband at Folsom Lake.  "I know where we are going.  It's where the water comes from that feeds the river by your house. ;)" Then he thanked me.

Smiley Face on a log - You will see them everywhere when you are happy.We were walking the other day.  He kept calling me to come see a smiley face he found - a pattern on a tree, sticks and rocks on the trail, wet patches on asphalt.  Not again... I'm not turning around again. "No, really.  This one's good!  It's the best." I look.  It IS unbelievable.

Why do you keep seeing so many smiley faces?, I ask.  "It's because I am so happy" The Kid reports.

I could have been showing houses.  Or shopping.  Or going to a movie.  Or cleaning my house.  But instead, I made a difference in the life of a child. My flip response is that it is cheaper than bail money later, but it is the truth.  Kids can get waylaid by the simplest of things to fix.  Some lessons on social grease, knowing someone cares, spending time with someone who is vested in you having a good life, and teaching you how to get it.

Life IS good....

 

Posted by

_______________________________________________________________________________________________ 

Your Fair Oaks Realtor for homes for sale in Fair Oaks and the Sacramento Area of California.... I'm your gal (Sally Dunbar). I'm occasionally knowledgable, periodically humorous, and always willing to tell you everything I know.  What more could you ask for?

Here are the newest listings for Fair Oaks, Orangevale, Citrus Heights, Folsom, Carmichael, Gold River, and Roseville - all CA, of course.

Sally's Website at www.sallydunbar.com to search for all homes in the MLS, and for tons of information for buyers and sellers.  You'll find schools information, market statistics... you name it, I got it!  Come visit me.More Blog posts by Sally Dunbar at www.FairOaksHomesAndMore.com

 

 

 

Sally Dunbar, 35 year Broker Associate, Lyon Real Estate, Fair Oaks, CA (916) 524-1548, SDunbar@GoLyon.com "Your Fair Oaks Realtor"

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Rainmaker
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Sally Dunbar
Lyon Real Estate, Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento Area) - Fair Oaks, CA
Fair Oaks Realtor - Fair Oaks Homes for Sale

Ron - thank you.  It's funny how giving can make a huge difference in someone else's life, but the REAL gift is to ourselves.  It is proof to ourselves that we matter in life. that we make a difference. I took his face in my hands the other day and told him I was not going to let him fail.  EVER.  So he better get used to it.  The smile I got back was priceless.

Jul 21, 2012 02:18 PM #2
Rainmaker
720,181
Cindy Edwards
RE/MAX Checkmate - Johnson City, TN
CRS, GRI, PMN - Northeast Tennessee - 423-677-6677

Sally,

This is such a great post.  It is so important to be a part of childrens lives. ( I like the reference you make to Dale Carnagie) This is so worthy of a feature, I'm also going to "suggest".  keep doing what you are doing!!

Jul 21, 2012 02:48 PM #3
Rainmaker
203,913
Sally Dunbar
Lyon Real Estate, Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento Area) - Fair Oaks, CA
Fair Oaks Realtor - Fair Oaks Homes for Sale

Cindy - Dale Carnegie's book is the best ever.  I read it years ago, then a number of times recently.  He is the one who did all the original research that all the self help books of today are based on. He studied influential people in history - George Washington, Lincoln, Hannibal, Mussolini - everyone who was able to influence people to do things.  Then he came up with the common denominators of how they did it.  It's simply the basics of friendship, but oh, so powerful.  And to have these lessons distilled down into actual rules was very powerful to help a young kid.  They are the rules of life we should all follow.

Thanks, Cindy.

Jul 21, 2012 02:59 PM #4
Rainer
234,320
Doug Bullwinkel
Vitek Mortgage Group - Roseville, CA
NMLS #281609

Hi Sally:  I suggested this because it's all about what we put back into life that determines who we are.  It's obvious that you are a good and caring person and I think you really made a difference in this child's life.  That day he spent will you will probably be long remembered and may influence a very important choice he makes someday.  I agree with you on Dale Carnegie.  I took one of their courses and it put me on a path that I have followed for many years.

Jul 21, 2012 03:40 PM #5
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Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

I did like this feel good story of yours Sally and changing lives one person at a time. You were like a substitute parent with the positive influence here. Great job...

Jul 21, 2012 05:03 PM #6
Rainmaker
203,913
Sally Dunbar
Lyon Real Estate, Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento Area) - Fair Oaks, CA
Fair Oaks Realtor - Fair Oaks Homes for Sale

Doug - You are right about it being about what we put back into life that determines who we are.  I bet the Carnegie course was awesome.  I have only read the book.

Gary - Yep... changing lives one person as a time.  There is nothing better.  It is like a boat in still waters.  You leave a wake that goes on effecting long after you have cruised away.

Jul 21, 2012 05:25 PM #7
Rainmaker
203,913
Sally Dunbar
Lyon Real Estate, Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento Area) - Fair Oaks, CA
Fair Oaks Realtor - Fair Oaks Homes for Sale

I let The Kid read this last night.  I wrote it as members only post, not wanting to unveil too much of his personal story to the world.  But he liked it  I think he is proud of the progress he has made at having a good life.  "You can use my name, my age, and my school, if you want..."  He is a sweet boy.

I hope this is inspirational to those who see a kid wo doesn't seem to care.  Counseling really helped - a stranger to admit he deep dark fears to .  I don't even know what they talked about.  He tells me it is confidential! But after the first session, he opened up.

He later told me that as he and I started to hang out together, he wanted to start trying, but just couldn't.  It finally took connecting with a teacher, to really start things turning around, and having him try in school. I might write about that later, as it was magical what can happen when the the kid's attitude changes.  The teacher changes too.

Jul 22, 2012 07:31 AM #8
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Chris Ann Cleland
Long & Foster REALTORS®, Manassas, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Northern VA

This child is lucky that you are so kind, generous and smart.  You have shared your gifts with him and changed his life.  

Jul 22, 2012 10:09 AM #9
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Chris Ann Cleland
Long & Foster REALTORS®, Manassas, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Northern VA

Featured in the group:  BARTENDER, MAKE IT A DOUBLE.


Jul 22, 2012 10:10 AM #10
Rainmaker
203,913
Sally Dunbar
Lyon Real Estate, Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento Area) - Fair Oaks, CA
Fair Oaks Realtor - Fair Oaks Homes for Sale

Chris Ann - thanks so much. It's honestly what makes life worthwhile - your get  more out of giving than by taking.

Jul 22, 2012 10:16 AM #11
Rainmaker
586,766
DeeDee Riley
Lyon Real Estate - El Dorado Hills CA - El Dorado Hills, CA
Realtor - El Dorado Hills & the Surrounding Areas

Sally,

What a wonderful story!  To me you are unfrikkenbelievable!!!!

Have a wonderful week,

DeeDee

Jul 22, 2012 07:51 PM #12
Rainmaker
203,913
Sally Dunbar
Lyon Real Estate, Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento Area) - Fair Oaks, CA
Fair Oaks Realtor - Fair Oaks Homes for Sale

Hahah, DeeDee....

Jul 23, 2012 07:08 AM #13
Rainmaker
495,811
Rene Fabre
First American Title - Seattle, WA
New Media Marketing

Way cool story Sally and thank you so much for telling it! Giving of one's self, is priceless! Moms and Dads often don't explain life, they manage it, enforce it, or try to ignore it. Having someone like you in his life is a gift and he'll never forget it.

Jul 23, 2012 02:09 PM #14
Rainmaker
203,913
Sally Dunbar
Lyon Real Estate, Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento Area) - Fair Oaks, CA
Fair Oaks Realtor - Fair Oaks Homes for Sale

Rene - I love your description - them trying to manage it, enforce it, or try to ignore it.  Someone asked me today how I have gotten him to listen to me, and honestly it is that I talk with him. I have told him that my goal is for him to have a good life, and that I am not trying to make him wrong, but am trying to help him make his life work.  He asked me yesterday if we could keep meeting on Thrusdays after school during the upcoming school year as well. Heck yeah.  I told him as long as he wants to, I will meet with him.

Jul 23, 2012 02:27 PM #15
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Nestor & Katerina Gasset
International Properties and Investments LLC - Wellington, FL
Realtors, Wellington Florida Homes For Sale
Hi Sally, an inspiring real life story you have here. I'm sure the kid's life will never be the same. Sometime's all we need is little push and we are on our way. Thank you for a very meaningful article. Keep it up!
May 01, 2013 02:03 AM #16
Rainmaker
527,578
Erika Rogers
Re/Max First Realty - Saint George, UT
St George Utah Real Estate & local info.
Well written article you have here Sally. A very inspiring story worth sharing to the world. Thank you for sharing and keep up the excellent work.
May 29, 2013 06:14 AM #17
Rainmaker
60,616
Pat & Ed Okenica
RE/MAX Agents Realty Lake Oconee Ga - Greensboro, GA
Lake Oconee Ga Real Estate
Very inspiring article you have here Sally. Thank you for being a guardian angel to this kid and may you have a prosperous 2013. All the best.
Jun 05, 2013 10:14 AM #18
Rainmaker
616,877
Petra Norris
CDV TransAtlantic, Inc. - Lakeland, FL
Realtor, Lakeland FL Homes for Sale
Thumbs up Sally. One's action can make a difference to a person's life. All the best and more blessings to come.
Jun 06, 2013 09:50 AM #19
Rainmaker
47,162
Melissa Muse Wiggans
Real Estate Muses - San Antonio, TX
CRS, GRI, ABR - San Antonio Tx Real Estate
This is a very good and inspiring post Sally. I will definitely recommend this article to my friends and family. Thank you for sharing and keep up the excellent work.
Jun 06, 2013 09:53 AM #20
Rainmaker
183,774
Waynette Hoover Araj
RE/MAX Central Realty - Asheboro, NC
Thank you Sally for a remarkable story. May you have more blessings to come and a prosperous 2013.
Jun 22, 2013 07:16 AM #21
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