Many people seem to be interested in dessert, but I have not found very many who are equally interested in spinach. Dessert tastes good, but eating desserts alone will not keep us healthy.

Today, we live in a society of people who have not been taught to make the right choices. They have been allowed a great deal of gratification, and the results have been disastrous. We must teach our young people to care about "later on."

Integrity And Honesty
Integrity and honesty are not popular in the world today, but they are still popular with God. They are prerequisites to enjoying prosperity in every area of life.

I have determined to be a person of integrity, and often feel as if I am swimming upstream against the flow of what many others are doing. Sometimes it makes me weary, but I have learned that God blesses those who take a stand for doing things right and with excellence.

Young people today are surrounded by mediocrity and compromise. No wonder they often lack respect and display rebellious attitudes. Respect and honor are usually given to whom it is due, to those who live their lives in a way that is honorable and respectable.
Whatever may be your task, work at it heartily (from the soul), as [something done] for the Lord and not for men, Knowing (with all certainty) that it is from the Lord [and not from men] that you will receive the inheritance which is your (real) reward. [The One Whom] you are actually serving [is] the Lord Christ, the Messiah.
(Col. 3:23-24 AMP)
We must teach teens to be excellent—to do everything with excellence and to choose excellent friends. Old Testament Daniel was a man of excellence. He had an excellent spirit and the king promoted him.
Then this Daniel was distinguished above the presidents and the satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him, and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.
(Dan. 6:3 AMP)
Be An Example
We cannot teach with words unless our lives back up what we say.

For years, I have been praying that God would raise up and anoint leaders for our youth whom they can respect and want to be like. We must show them something—not just tell them something.

My brother had lived a sinful life for more than 20 years. He was an alcoholic, a drug addict, and a sinner in every way. He came to the end of himself and asked us to help him get his life straightened out, which we were thrilled to do.

He came to live with us. We decided not to try to talk him into being a Christian. We did share the Gospel message with him and told him to let us know when he was ready to make a decision. Within two weeks he was born again!

He shares that what influenced him most to make the decision was seeing how we lived. Watching our family together—how we cared for one another, had fun together, loved each other, and displayed good fruit—made him hungry for what he saw.

I believe many teens are making wrong decisions today, because they do not have any heroes. They are lacking the presence of people with excellence, integrity, and honesty whom they can admire, and determine in their heart, "I want to be like you!"

When one of my sons was a teenager, he went through a period of confusion, because he saw "leaders" going to movies filled with bad language and even nudity. We had many intense conversations about this issue. His father and I had very strong convictions about not seeing these types of movies, but the double standard he saw confused him.

As he got older, he started making some better decisions for himself, but it was frustrating to me as a parent to be trying to teach my son to make excellent choices while other "spiritual leaders" were, by their actions, teaching him the opposite.

As leaders, we must realize that we don't have a "private" life. Everywhere we go there is someone watching us. They are anxious to see if we are for real. Let us not disappoint them. Paul dealt firmly with his fleshly passions so he would not be judged as counterfeit.
But [like a boxer] I buffet my body—handle it roughly, discipline it by hardships—and subdue it, for fear that after proclaiming to others the Gospel and things pertaining to it, I myself should become unfit—not stand the test and be unapproved—and rejected [as a counterfeit].
(1 Cor. 9:27 AMP)
Paul encouraged others to follow him as he followed Christ. If we as parents and leaders live Spirit-led lives, we will be able to lead our teens into excellence, integrity, and honesty.

They will live holy, righteous lives that will produce good fruit. They will make us proud of them, and will respect and honor us for giving them honorable goals.

Source: Turing the Hearts of the Fathers by Ron Luce
Excerpt permission granted by Albury Publishing