"Hey Mom, can you tell Opportunity to try calling back tomorrow? I'm right in the middle of a video game, then after that I gotta go online and catch up with my email before my favourite shows are on."
Oops. Guess that particular "knock-knock" joke isn't all that funny.
During the two years it took to write this book, I asked over a hundred parents and grandparents to offer input into the problems and issues facing society. Virtually everyone readily agreed that today's society is suffering. As a rule, the older generations would agree that the younger generations have not been trained up in the ways of the world. With respect to the issues of
1) financial responsibility 2) work ethic and 3) communication skills
most readily admitted that (as a rule) the younger generation needed to learn how to better manage
1) their money 2) their jobs and even 3) their relationships.
If you are a parent reading this webpage, please take a moment to ask yourself "Am I completely confident that my child(ren) will be ready to thrive in the adult world, considering the state of affairs our society is currently facing?" It's a yes or no question. If you feel your children will need to be made more aware of what it takes to succeed in the areas of financial responsibility, on-the-job work ethic and communication (especially interpersonal communication) skills, then congratulations because you are in the vast majority. By that I mean, the vast majority of those I interviewed felt that young people needed help in these three critical areas of interpersonal development.
During interviews, I asked parents to describe what they felt were the factors responsible for society's current ills, and what they thought it would take to turn things around. While almost all could identify with the issues that this book examines , very few found it easy to articulate solutions to cure these social ills; however, when I explained the principles inherent in the book's storyline, virtually all of the parents and grandparents were excited about the prospect of a book like "What's Your ROI?" There were many helpful insights offered as well as a universal sense of encouragement, confirming that the message of the book was needed and the timing was right.
I was always inspired when in the odd interview, parents and grandparents that would further admit that they could have done more to prepare their children for the real world. I know I could have. Most of these parents pointed to a lack of communication. Amongst the fathers, I usually heard them confess they were so busy at work, they had neglected their role of passing on wisdom (that would be me as well). These moments of humility and reflection were usually followed by a long silence.
Yet these were confessions were rare, certainly not the rule. For the rest of the interviews, I would en with a brass-knuckle question. I'd ask parents to soberly consider the lives of their own children, in light of what issues and problems exist within the attitudes and mindsets of the younger generation, and in light of what challenges these young people will face as they inherit their future. Finally, I would ask, "What do you think your own children's score would be if you were to "measure" thei ROI?" Many (not all) salid something along the lines of "Oh, my son/daughter is an exception to the rule." In other words, while virtually all parents could readily identify with the problems facing the younger generation, significantly fewer of those parents were prepared to admit that their own children were part of the problem.
Go back to the question I posed a few paragraphs ago. If you feel your children have been equipped to face the real world, then honestly, you don't need to read this book. But according to my interviews, almost everyone else's kids do, so you might want to give a copy of the book to your nieces, nephews or neighbors. But if you can humbly say that (for whatever reason) your own young adult or teenage children need a few more pointers, then here's something to consider.
Opportunity is knocking (but who is willing to invest the time to answer the door?)
ROI addresses a problem that, for the past fifty years, has crept into Western society at large and North American society especially.
The problem is so many of us somehow expect to be given opportunities for health, wealth and happiness, without first doing some reflecting. What measures of time, energy, emotion and effort might first be required of us, by those who are in the position of authority and influence to be motivated to extend to us opportunities we're looking for. Opportunity is mots definitely knocking all around us, but we must first be willing to invest something of ourselves before we can ever expect to take advantage of such opportunity. "What's Your ROI?" gives young adults a strategic perspective of what's required of those who want to position themselves to answer the door of opportunity as they aspire to reach their goals and achieve their dreams. It's more than a story that reflects the sign of the times, it's a reference manual to provide readers with a means to achieve the strategic positioning that's required for anyone who wants to take advantage of the American Dream.
Because somehow, this strategy has been lost.
Who's to Blame? BabyBoomers, Media or Me?
Me. You. And most definitely the media. Much of the responsibility for the change in status of our society today is because when the Baby Boomers entered parenthood, they chose not to mentor their children by articulating values, explaining situational ethics where the values could be applied, and fewer yet encouraged their children to talk with their grandparents to lend an ear to the wisdom of past generations. There was a void in mentorship, but that void was filled. The mentors that taught the children of Generation X and Generation Y have, in most cases, been the TV celebrities of sitcoms, the stars whose lives we follow in the front pages of grocery store tabloids, as well as the idols and icons of the 3 R's of the music industry - rock, rap, and R&B.
Bottom line? Those of us who are professionally involved in training the upcoming generations of young adults are astounded by the lack of knowledge and practical wisdom in these younger generations, but we have no one to blame but ourselves, because we as a society have not taught them.
ROI attempts to fix that. Or at least, begin the process. ROI is not the total solution, because the total solution requires the input of parents and grandparents to pass on wisdom, including the wisdom that comes from counting the cost of mistakes. What ROI is however, is a way to open the door to bridge the generation gap and the communication gap so you can pass on an inheritance that's invaluable - your experience.