I’ll never forget the thrill I got when I read a book filled with tremendous truths that were completely opposite to what I had believed. The books began to change my life and the lives of my friends and associates. Then I realized I had overlooked the most important people in my life: my family. My oldest son, Jere, was 14 years old at the time. He was the perfect example of the modern teenager. He never did anything wrong; he never did anything right; he just never did anything!
I—like most dads—have been critical of the way they do things inWashington, but one day I realized I was running a worse program in my home than the politicians in government. I decided it was time for a change, and since books had been so tremendously helpful in my life I decided to use them with my son.
I knew Jere would rebel against my forcing him to read so I planned some strategy. You know, you can take a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink—well, I decided to put some salt in Jere’s oats and make him thirsty.
“Jere, in two years you’re going to want me to help you buy a car, and I want to help you. But I’m not going to give you the money. Here is my proposal. I’m going to pay you $10 for every book you read. I’ll pick the book, you give me a written report, and I’ll put $10 in a car fund. So, if you read in style, you’ll drive in style. But if you read like a bum, you’ll drive like a bum.” Overnight he developed a tremendous hunger for reading!
My heart aches for the boy whose dad sends him off for an education before teaching him a little of the why and how of living.
Jere went to college and made a habit of writing a “Dear Dad” postcard every day about a new idea that had hit him, or a fresh slant on an old idea. And these ideas have come from his reading. I can tell you the very page of the book that I paid him to read which inspired some of these tremendous ideas!
Excerpt from “Life Is Tremendous” by Charlie “Tremendous” Jones. For more information on Charlie’s reading contract and Jere’s “Dear Dad” cards, read this motivational classic available at www.TremendousLifeBooks.com