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"Where there is no vision, the people perish" (Prov. 29:18 KJV).

Without a vision, the people are destroyed, aimless, confused, bewildered, and directionless. This describes much of what this generation of young people is like.

I didn't have a job, so my mom just yelled at me and told me I was lazy and would never get a job.

My parents need to encourage me and tell me to press on with my goals.

Many parents feel sad that their own young person does not have direction, but they don't quite know what to do about it. They figure that somehow, some way, their young person will figure out on their own what they should do with their life. They graduate from high school and go through one door at a time, trying to find their way along the path of life.

Seventeen-year-old Brooke Davidoff said, "About one-third of our generation doesn't care about anything important. It's kind of like anything goes." More than 98 percent of teens ages 13-17 say it's at least somewhat likely that they will have good-paying jobs as adults, and more than six in ten think that there is some likelihood they may be rich someday. Yet almost half say they are likely to be mugged, and 33 percent believe they may be shot or stabbed in their lifetime.

According to USA Today's poll of 703 high school student leaders, marriage is slightly more important than career. In looking to the future, 31.5 percent are looking forward to a successful marriage; 28.9 percent to a successful career; 20.9 percent to acquiring knowledge; 14.4 percent to making money; and 4.3 percent to raising children. Job satisfaction is the most important thing in a job according to 65.5 percent; 29.8 percent said money was; and 4.7 percent said that prestige was most important.

As a parent, one of our goals should be to raise our children to be morally and socially responsible. They will do the right thing even after they have left the supervision of our home because of what has been instilled in them during their upbringing. Part of raising a responsible young person is helping them to know what to do with their life and helping them to sort out the myriad of options.

Some parents want their children to live out their dreams. They want their children to accomplish what they were never able to accomplish themselves. So they have always told their young person, "You are going to be a doctor," or "You are going to be a lawyer."

Whatever you do, be careful not to be a dream-killer.
- Ron Luce
Setting aside all of our personal biases and opinions, we need to look at the young person's utmost good and help them discover what God's plan is for their life. This can be frustrating for us if we never sought to find God's will for our life when we were young. Some of us have a hard time even now trying to find out what the Lord wants us to do.

You would be surprised at how much your young person actually wants you to be involved in helping them discover what is right for their life. As one teen put it, "I wish my parents cared about what I wanted to do with my life; but they keep trying to kill my dreams."

Whatever you do, be careful not to be a dream-killer. There are so many parents who have discouraged their young person by things they have said to them. The young person will mention an idea and they will respond with, "Oh, you will never do that," or "You can never become that," or "You will probably be flipping burgers your whole life."

Even though these things may be said in jest or be off-the-cuff comments, the damage they can do to a young person's dreams is not only destructive, but often eternal.

Without a doubt, as you begin to talk to your young person about their desires and dreams for the future, they will come up with ideas and dreams that might sound far-fetched, way beyond their ability, or way beyond your desire for them to go that direction. You must remember, though, that it is their life, not yours.

It is our parental responsibility to help our young people. Rather than letting them do whatever they can do and coming up with whatever they can come up with, we should help them discover their dreams and develop a vision for their lives.

Another equally important goal is to help your young person find out what God's best is for their life. Many people have never considered what God's plan might be. Yet there is something about important decisions like what college to go to and who to marry that makes everyone wonder "Is this really the right thing?" You can only measure whether it is right or not by knowing the One who made you and knowing all the potential He put inside you.

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.- Jeremiah 1:5

Before we were ever conceived God knew who we were, what our gifts were going to be, all the potential He put inside of us, and all the incredible things each of us could do to change the world and make it a better place.

Our responsibility is to help our young person realize the destiny God has placed on their life and the potential He has put inside them. We need to open our ears and hearts as well as help them to open theirs, so they can hear what God's plan is for their life.

The first step in knowing His plan is knowing Him. If you want to know the purpose for a piano, go talk to the one who made the piano. They will tell you why they made it and what it is to be used for. If we want to know the purpose of our lives, we need to go to our Maker and find out His plan for us.

Tom East, in Vision and Challenge, points out three ways you can enable young people to hear God's voice more clearly in their noisy world.

1. Media literacy. Professional attention-getters bombard teenagers with constant messages. When you help kids critique the media world in which they live, they're better able to understand these influences and the choices they present. This can help them focus on God's call.

2. Reflection. Teenagers need space to reflect on the direction their lives are taking. Silence is an important part of learning to pay attention. You can help kids by building pauses and short periods of silence into programs. Be sure to help them make connections between their beliefs and their actions.

3. A spiritually challenging vision of life. Give teenagers lots of opportunities to see God's call lived out in others' lives. Communicate a broad vision to kids by introducing them to a variety of people who are living for Christ in everyday life.

During this process, help your young person make a list of all the gifts and talents they have, all the things they have ever wanted to do with their life, and all the ideas and opinions others have had regarding what they should do with their life (i.e. fields that people have suggested they should go into). Most importantly, help your young person discover their convictions.

God has deposited convictions in our own hearts and lives, and we often do not search deep inside enough to know what those are. A conviction is something you feel so strongly about that if you do not do it, you know you will be miserable for the rest of your life. You can have convictions such as, "I must work in the medical field," or "I must help people in some way," or "I must work in another country as a missionary."

Begin a dialogue with your young person. Discuss these kinds of things with them and meet once a month during their high school years to add to their list or take things off the list. You will see how things are refined after a number of years or months of going through this kind of process.

Spend time praying over each one of the things on the list. Consider talking to people who are specialists in some of the areas your young person is interested in. You won't have all the answers for them, and you shouldn't tell them what to do with their life. However, letting your young person know you are interested and helping them walk through the milieu of confusion and options they are facing will let them know you care.

To reinforce their sense of purpose and destiny, help your teen write down their vision for life.

"Write down the revelation (vision) and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it" (Hab. 2:2).

After seeking and thinking through all the different possibilities, it is very important to have your young person write down a mini-plan. "This is where I'm going and this is how I'm going to get there" is the essence of this plan.

In a study of Harvard graduates, only 5 percent had written down their vision when they graduated. After 20 years, only that 5 percent had accomplished their vision and each were making an annual salary that totaled the combined income of the other 95 percent of their classmates.' Realize the importance of writing down your vision!

By walking down this road with our young person, we hope to see them launch into the direction in life they are best suited for. We can watch them accomplish all the dreams God has placed in their heart and become a success in whatever field they are destined to go into.

Source: Rescue Manual For Parents by Ron Luce.
Excerpt permission granted by Albury Publishing

Author Biography

Ron Luce
Web site: Ron Luce
 
Ron Luce was the co-founder's and president of Teen Mania Ministries from 1986-2015. Ron and his wife Katie dreamed to raise up young people who would change the world.
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