Teaching teenagers to focus on their goals

Jan 23rd

We’re finishing up our series called Walk Away in which we’re teaching students how to deal with moments when they’re tempted to walk away from God. One word for that is perseverance and is something that parents can model at home.

Teaching children about perseverance is more than just telling them they have to do their homework now, practice the piano, or their dance.  Teaching children perseverance starts first with setting the example and then putting words to what they’re experiencing. These three lessons are taken from an article by Joe Van Deuren, a complete version of which can be found here. As you read, think of them also in the context of spiritual goals.

Lesson #1 Perseverance requires not becoming overwhelmed, but taking one step at a time.  We do not teach our children to walk in one day. Children practice everyday for a few months and then suddenly, they are walking.  The same is true when we set out to reach a goal.  Show your children how to make a plan, mapping out one small step at a time.  Keep a record of the starting point and celebrate the small victories.  Draw their attention to the before and after.

Lesson #2 Teach your children not just how to manage their time, but to prioritize.  Any time-management guru will show you how to list and categorize A,B,C and then 1,2,3 until you can see the most important items on your list.  But, prioritizing is also learning how to give up something from A,B,or C (fun to do but not important to reaching your goal) so that your goal can be reached.  What are you willing to give up now to reach your goal in the future?  Yes it takes self discipline.  Model this for your children point out exactly what you’re doing.

Lesson #3 Teach your children not to let lack of resources be a discouraging factor in them reaching their goals. It’s important as we teach them about desire, motivation and creativity.  So many highly successful individuals started out with very little or had other obstacles, yet were able to reach their goals.  Share with your teenagers examples from different professions that will encourage their creativity and motivation and prevent them from walking away.