Imagine that I give you the deed to an acre of land, no strings attached. It’s all yours, bought and paid for. The bad news is, this parcel of land is located in the heart of a desert, where the temperature stays at one hundred and twenty degrees at night and it’s even hotter when the sun is out. But you don’t have to live there. The good news is, I have buried one million dollars worth of gold in this acre. But there’s some more not-so-good news. The gold is basically worthless for the next two years. You would be able to sell it anywhere. Now twenty-four months from now, it will be every bit worth the one million dollars. How quickly are you going to go out there in the charring heat and dig for the gold?
This is the type of situation we are handing to children and youth when told they have to go into counseling, without clearly explaining the reason. And there is a reason behind signing someone up for such a service. The problem here is that the reason is clear to a parent, teacher, social worker or juvenile officer, but not the person in therapy. As adults, we often assume that our youth should be able to detect triggers of concern in their behavior and emotional expression. What we often don’t look at is who owns the concern to begin with. The behavior which bothers the parent may not be a big deal to the child. And this could be argued as the adult’s rational judgment all day long. Mainly because the concern is born out of adult-sized standards. Those standards don’t necessarily belong to the child and are most like not considered as important. Whatever each person sees as a value is a mixture of age, preferences, exposure to his or her social environments.
To assume that a child or adolescent will see where the adult is coming from and just go ahead and use counseling is an invitation to fighting and resistance. So let’s look at the proposal of land and gold in a different way. This my attempt to help you with using your resources more efficiently. The land still consists of one acre. The temperature in this land is still remaining at one hundred and twenty degrees at night and even hotter under the sun. The gold is still buried. In order to spend the gold, you will have to bring me one ounce of it a week. I will not only be measuring the weight of gold, but you will be measured by way of physical strength. It take a working effort to dig in the land for gold. Your arms will be progressively growing in muscle. When muscle and strength increases, the tasks which used to be such a challenge are easier to do. With increasing power comes a different attitude, due to the difference in how much lighter objects are and the look in physical stature. These are behaviors that I want to see and track, as you make your way through the discovery of gold. With measurable progress comes your earning power.