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I guess it's my age, but I find myself being less diplomatic each day.

What I see, I express, with little regard to feelings.

That's particularly true when I see personal actions that are self-destructive. Recently I had a discussion with a young couple that was not only in debt, but so stuck for funds that they faced eviction from a low-cost apartments.

Of course, their reason was that they can't find a job. What they really mean is they can't find a job that is cushy, with little work and great pay.

Even in today's economy, there are lots of jobs to be done, however many involve work that isn't always fun.

The most universal issue with finding a job, I think, is a lack of education. If you have a child entering high school this year, you should demand some things.

First, they must decide what they want to do as an adult. If they chose college, an analysis should be made. Do they have the drive and the intelligence to obtain the grades?

We all want our children to be intellectual giants. But the brain power isn't always there. Here I suggest a real investigation -- and please remember that more than one child has been ruled deficient, but investigation reveals dyslexia or other learning impairments that can be corrected.

Let's assume they rule out college. For many parents, this is "disasterville."

If it is, maybe the problem is more with you than with your child.

Educational professionals will cite case after case of children with good drive who never went college, but who learned a trade which catapulted them into a business ownership.

I can tell you from personal relationships more than one Carroll County millionaire that has done just that. It is because of that "no college" stigma I will not name them.

Yet, when colleges and hospitals need funds, they are many times the first in line with a big check!

My point is simple: Never saddle a child with your own ambitions. Love and appreciate them for what they are.

However, if you allow a child to grow up with no direction, no value and no goals, you'll likely pay a big price in later years.

Our family rules were simple. As adults, we provide food, shelter ... and rules. As children, you provide cooperation.

This is so ingrained with me that when I see an drop-out with the slack jaw, cigarette dangling and pants about to fall off, I mutter to myself, "Who's feeding that?"

I was no honor student by any means. However, I was able to comprehend what would please my family, so I stayed at it until I finished. Chores, education, careers -- all the children in my family knew quitting was not an option.

Luckily, I found a wife holding these same values. All my children are successful by any measure you choose.

In truth, my marriage in my late 30s was due to my belief that unless a man and woman agree item by item on raising children, religion, financial matters, etc., living single is a far better choice.

If you're single, go on great and fabulous vacations on the money you won't be spending on a divorce lawyer.

A good rule for marriage is that if either party compromises on his or her fundamental beliefs, you can count on loud arguments, recriminations and fights. It will be never ending entertainment ... for the neighbors.


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