by Charlie "Tremendous" Jones

How many of you are under sixteen?
How do you like the idea that you might be driving a Cadillac when you're sixteen?
When my son was your age, he wasn't quite as excited as you. I said, "Jerry, do you want to have a car when you're sixteen?"
"Do you want me to help you buy that car?"
"Yes sir, dad."
"Alright, son, we're going to do it, but the free ride's over. No more allowance. I'm going to give you a way to make a lot of money. Here is the deal. I am going to pick out books for you to read. There will be motivational books, history books, inspirational books; and every time I give you a book, you give me a book report. Every time I get a book report, I'll put money in your car fund. Another book report; more money in the car fund. In two years if you read in style, you'll drive in style. But if you read like a bum, you're going to drive like a bum."

Overnight he developed a fantastic hunger for reading. The first book I had him read was Dale Carnegie's, "How to Win Friends and Influence People." Somebody said, "Why did you have him read a book like that?" I'll tell you why. The first day he read that book, he smiled and said, "Dad, there's a whole chapter in here about smiling." And he smiled at me--he smiled at me. I couldn't believe it--he's smiling and he's only 14 years old--smiling already. Then he took my hand and he shook my hand and he said "Dad, there's a whole chapter in here on shaking hands." He shook my hand. I couldn't believe it--oh my.

Next, I had him read the book of Joshua. Oh, I love the book of Joshua. It's on discouragement. We all have a right to be discouraged, but none of us have the right to act discouraged. So we're going to Sunday school one day, and I said, "Jerry, how do you like that book on Joshua?" He said, "Dad, everybody ought to have to read that book." And when he said that, he hit my leg. He hit my leg! First sign of life in 14 years--he hit my leg! Well, let me tell you this. That may not sound like much, but many people have read great books, and never once have they said, "You've got to read this book." If you don't have a passion and desire to share what you're reading, you may as well not read it. But if you're not living your life out, you're a dead sea. Well, he read 22 books. He didn't buy a car; he kept the money and used my gas!

He went on to college; he wrote me a Dear Dad post card every day for four years. And some of those cards--I'd like to read you a couple--because they were tough years of my life. You know, no matter how anybody looks on the platform, we all have our ups and downs and hurts and what-have-you, but if you're wise, you'll always keep your hurts to yourself and you grow through and you never suck your thumb and complain and tell people about them. And so here come these cards, and those years I was going through tough times, and sometimes I would just put my head on the desk and shed some happy tears. Because I was so grateful to realize that it was a book he read where he got his seed thought, to put it on a card and write to me every day. And the other thing so beautiful about it, he may not have known the meaning of some of these great truths, but the thought was in his mind, and you have to get it in your mind, you have to memorize it before you can start to realize it.

And here are a couple of cards that came back:
Dad, the only happy man, successful man, confident man, or practical man is the one who is simple. See it big--keep it simple.

Unless his mind can crystallize all the answers into one powerful punch of personal motivation, you live nothing but a life of uncertainty and fear. Tremendously too, JerryDad, it's simple to be able to know that when you're in a slump, just like that baseball player will break out in time, so you'll break out of yours. Yea, time really cures things. Like you said, you don't lose any problems. You just get bigger and better ones--tremendous ones.Tremendously, Jerry

Dad, I just started reading "100 Great Lives." Thanks for what you said in the front, the part that every great man never sought to be great. He just followed the vision he had and did what he had to do.Love, Jerry

Dad, I just got done typing up little quotes out of the Bible and Napoleon Hill, so that everywhere I look I see these quotes. When people ask what they are, I tell them, "They're my pin-up's."

Dad, I'm more convinced than ever that you can do anything you want to. You can beat anyone at anything, just by working hard. Handicaps don't mean anything because often people who don't have any handicaps, have a bad attitude and don't want to do anything.

Dad, Nothing new. Just the same old exciting thought--that we can know God personally and forever in this amazing life.

Dad, The mind of God is so unbelievable. He throws nothing at us but paradoxes. He makes us completely and utterly helpless and depraved, and then He takes our failure which normally knocks us out, and makes it our greatest asset.

Dad, when you're behind two papers in the 4th quarter and you're exhausted from the game, and you have to make up a set of downs in order to stay in the game, and you get up to the line and see 5 250-lb tests staring you in the mug, you're too excited to wait and find out what play the Lord is going to call next.

Wow! Well, anyway just imagine, if I had it to do over again, I'd have paid him $1,000 a book report. How many have grand-children here? Okay here's what you do. You tell your grandchildren from now on you'll pay them $100 for every book report, and they get $5 bucks and the rest goes into the college fund. So that way, when they're 8 or 9, they'll have $10,000 or $15,000 to put toward college education and they'll have the satisfaction of paying for it. Plus they will have read books that will truly make a difference in their lives.

Charlie 'Tremendous' Jones, lived a full life in many ways- as a business leader, breaking many sales records in the insurance industry the founder and CEO of Executive Books and especially as a man of faith who lived out his values every day. This article was shared as a tribute to his words of wisdom that live on beyond him to encourage parents of teens to build strong young people full of discipline instead of entitlement.
Reproduced with permission from Jim Rohn's Weekly E-zine. To subscribe, go to All contents Copyright © except where indicated otherwise. All rights reserved worldwide.

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