It's really rather simple.
The older boy I've been talking about, "Jorge," is currently in the habit of saying no to everything - things he has wanted to do, things I know he'd like, things he needs to do - everything that is suggested by someone else. So he is spending all his time sitting on his butt feeling sorry for himself. Which he has plenty of reason to do, but this is not very effective. Nothing has worked so today I decided to try a different approach. He has been wanting to earn money but now he says he doesn't want to do anything. Here's our text "conversation":
me: Hey, I have a dirty car and $10 for anyone who wants to wash it. Do you still want to earn money?
him: [no response. I am ignoring all adults. Whatever you have to say must be totally worthless and you know I am just going to say no.]
...two hours later...
me: It's OK if you don't want to. One of my neighbors has kids* who want to earn money. I'l just ask them.
...20 seconds later...
him: I never said I didn't want to
me: Oh, I was going to ask them now. Do you want to?
him: Yeah I do
WIN! And so simple. At least there will be one day this week that he is actively doing something out of his house.
Warren (my friend who is equally involved with these kids) and I are now plotting ways to get them to go to camp. Which they'll love if they go but "I ain't going. Oh well!"
I'm thinking something along the lines of "Since you guys don't really want to go to camp, I'm going to tell the camp that they can give the spots to some other kid who's been wanting to go."
I am predicting that will raise interest.
*There are no neighbor kids that want to earn money. I made it up and it was worth it.