Every high school student, especially, juniors and seniors ask themselves, “What am I going to do?”
Parents ask their teenager’s, “What are you going to do?”
When they were kids we would ask them, “Who are you going to be?” But the “who” was always referring to an occupation like a policeman or doctor.
As a youth pastor, I see a ton of pressure on high school students to know WHAT they are going to do.
The WHAT we are going to do is important, no doubt about that. Even more important though, is the WHO.
Christian’s ask all the time, “WHAT is God’s plan for my life?” I try to help answer that question but I’ve learned in my personal life that WHO I become is paramount to WHAT I do in life. I’ve been praying this simple prayer, “God, prepare me (WHO) for whatever (WHAT) you have in store for me,” then I’ll be ready for whatever it is.
When I was in highschool I didn’t know for sure what tomorrow held, the specifics of what God wanted me to be or where I would go. But, the work God did in my heart and mind prepared me for the “what.” I didn’t have clarity of my future but I did have Christ. I had the character of Christ growing and being cultivated in me.
We get our kids and teens focusing on WHAT they are going to do and that’s good, but we also need to have them focus on, WHO they are going to be.
My parents taught me to be like Christ and the “what” would follow.
So let’s put character back into the college and career equation.
Zig Ziglar use to say,
“Ability can take you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.”
One moral failure can eliminate a scholarship. Impatience with a boss can get you fired. Dishonesty can have your business audited. On the other hand, serving can get you promoted, kindness can get you a sale and gentleness can keep a valued employee.
There is no diploma for character but Christ-like character is fostered and cultivated throughout life by God, careful parenting and your child’s cooperation with the process.
Starting now, create a culture in your family that will foster and cultivate character in your kids or teenagers.
For Christians, it’s a no brainer, look at the life of Jesus and look at the Bible. Teach the gazillion lessons from the Bible to yourself and to your kids. I recently heard how a dad in our church taught his daughter a life lesson using one verse from the book of Joshua. It was quick, to the point and in the middle of the kitchen while they were eating a snack. A lesson happened because Dad taught that lesson to himself and then shared it with his daughter.
Model Christ-like character and Biblical standards in front of your kids. Be honest in front of them. Be gentle. Be forgiving.
Hold your kids accountable to Christ-like characters and Biblical standards. Celebrate when your kid does something like Jesus and then gently and loving correct your kids when they don’t.
Take them to church. Your kids can hear the teaching and preaching of Jesus, the greatest, purest person who ever lived! They can learn from other spiritual leaders and they can also learn from the good and bad of other kids.
Many parents and high school students have figured this out already. I want to encourage you keep going and stay focused on WHO God wants you to be.
God has a plan, let Him work it. In the meantime, work your God given responsibility to raise your child in the teachings and character of the Bible. Keep a close watch on “who” your children are becoming and watch “what” they become!