Making today count… Yes!
IF MONEY WAS NO OBJECT AND YOU COULD DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO HELP A YOUNG PERSON GET OFF THE STREET, WHAT WOULD YOU DO? WE CREATED A CONTRACT AND BONUS PROCESS.
A young man walked into my office and said, “Carl, if you had a million dollars given to you, what would you do with it?” ”I did have that happen,” I said. “I chose to give it away, $15 at a time.” “You did, didn’t you?….That’s where my bonus money came from isn’t it?” He slowly turned around and walked out of my office.
If money was no object what would you do to help someone out of whatever potentially negative situation they find themselves in? In fact what if money wasn’t the object at all?
For almost 22 years now the contract and bonus process has proven itself in a significant way. Many young people have changed their way of thinking. When representatives from the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research interviewed young people who had been on the street a surprising theme recurred. The need to participate in a violent response was taking a backseat.
Violence is one of the major issues in our society today. We’ve just done a 24 month project with a shelter for battered women. A consistent theme developed in the lives of these women as they learned how to do the contract and bonus process. These ladies decided they did not have to keep putting themselves in harms way.
The contracting and bonus process continues in the lives of young people who found themselves on the street in a small city. The leaders of the city said we don’t have street kids, “Carl, why are you even here?” Five years later young people keep coming forward telling their stories about drugs, violence, and brokenness in their lives. They tell about times they were used as pawns in households where the adults were not much older than themselves. The contract and bonus process gave the young person an opportunity to be empowered. In the absence of a presentation of consistent positive values these young people were given the opportunity to talk about values and how to accomplish tasks in a positive way. The contract and bonus process offered young people an opportunity to move their lives forward building on one success after another with the freedom to start over when they may have failed.
The contracting and bonus process had been introduced to group of university students. Many of them had English as a second language. Philosophically they wrestled with the idea of getting money as a bonus. They often believed that behavior would be based on one’s values and goals in life. They felt the use of the bonus was not necessary. Over the period of 12 months the bonus was helpful to meet basic needs in their lives. Over the 12 months the bonus was there in a way that nurtured their decision-making process. The bonus, as little as it was, nonetheless helped to create options.
Often people came back after using contracts and bonuses and ask, “is there anyway I can continue in this process.” Making Today Count is designed for each person to have an additional opportunity to use the contracting and bonus process in relationship to themselves, significant others, work placements, educational situations, community participation, and family relationships.
Take care, and may God bless.