An Important Back-To-School Talk for Christian Teens
I want so much for you.
You are full of so much possibility, so much potential… I am your biggest fan and I want to help you succeed in everything you do.
You are smart. You are grounded. You are wise. But you are young and you still have so much growing up to do.
Anticipating the start of school and all that entails, I want you to prepare for the days ahead. I want you to consider how you’ll manage it all amidst the pressures you will face. Sometimes we need to re-commit to our principles and our goals and think about how they might be challenged in our future. And the greatest thing you can do to ensure your success is to make many important decisions now about how it’s all going to go…
You can decide now about what you’re going to do, how you’re going to act, and who you are going to be. You can make important decisions today that will create the direction you want to go in your life tomorrow. Think about these questions that might help prepare you for what lies ahead.
An Important Back-To-School Talk For Christian Teens
Decide what is important to you. Decide what your priorities will be this year. Will you commit to your academics and getting good grades? Will you dedicate time to your sports, music, or any extra-curricular activities you love? What is your plan for your job and how many hours a week will you commit to working? Will your faith be a priority? Will you participate in youth group, go to church, read the Bible? How much time will you spend with your friends?
Think through how you’re going to fit all the things that are important to you in the time you have each day. Set up a detailed plan now, so you don’t let your priorities slip when other things interfere.
Decide how you will take care of yourself when you’re stressed. There will be times you will feel a lot of pressure- with school, with sports, with friends, with allthethings you go through at your age. How will you take care of yourself and make sure you stay healthy and well? What comforts you? What brings you joy? What things can you do to help you manage your stress? What things can you do that will help bring you peace and restoration when you are exhausted from it all? Make sure you set aside times for those things that refuel you because you need to stay well. Putting your mental and physical health first is the most important thing you need to learn.
Decide what kind of friend you will be and what kind of friends you will have. Which friends are important to you and how will you nourish those friendships? How will you handle the hard friendships that might need to end? How will you respond to any negative talk about other friends? Will you stick up for people who need support and encourage those who are struggling? Will you be kind and inclusive and considerate of other people’s needs? Decide now, what kind of friend you will be. Decide now, how you will handle the friends who are hard to love.
Decide now if you will drink alcohol or try drugs. Nothing good comes from drinking or doing drugs. You know this. So will you steer clear of such things? What will your answer be when someone invites you to the cool party where there will be drugs or drinking? What will you say when you’re at the football game and people start passing around joints, cups of alcohol, or pills? What is your exit strategy if you find yourself in an unsafe situation? What will you do when you feel pressured into doing something you don’t want to do? Figure out now, how you will respond so you don’t get caught off guard and falter under pressure.
Decide what you will and won’t do for love. Decide what your answer will be when the boy you really really like says it’s no big deal to do something you’re uncomfortable doing. Decide how you’ll act when you’re alone with that girl for the first time, the second time, the third time, etc. Decide what limits you will place on your relationship and how that special person will fit into your life. Think about what a healthy relationship looks like and remember that when you’re in one. Set up those guidelines now, so you are prepared with a plan when you meet that special someone later.
Decide what your answer will be when people make fun of your values and challenge you to change. How will you respond to people who don’t respect your choices, your values, your faith? Who will you go to for support? Who do you trust? Which friends will help you grow in your faith and stick to your principles? What friends are worth keeping and which friends are not? How will you be an example to those around you who don’t know Christ?
Decide today to ignore the enemy who wants to trick you and trip you and taunt you and tempt you. Remember that the enemy wants to infect all the goodness of God in you and your life. Be vigilant in your defense. Remind yourself to cling to God’s truth during such attacks. Seek support and remember whose you are. God is faithful, God is love, God is for you- never against you. Believe in Him, no matter what lies the enemy tries to tell you. Satan will do everything he can to steer you away from God. Don’t let him.
Decide today that no matter how badly you mess up, you are forgiven and loved. No one is perfect, everyone fails. These teen years are all about growing pains and you will make lots of mistakes. Remember that there’s nothing you can do that separates you from the love of God. His grace is sufficient for you. And we are always here to help you, guide you, counsel you, support you, and love you through it all.
Decide today who you are going to turn to if you get into trouble. Come up with a plan for when you’re stuck in a precarious situation. You can always count on your parents to help you at any time for any reason. Who do you trust when you need to talk about serious issues? Which friends are responsible, reliable, and trustworthy? Who will show up in your times of need? Remember our love is unconditional. Remember that we are here, always, through anything you face.
There will be choices ahead of you that you can’t prepare for and that’s okay. That’s how life goes. You might also change some of these decisions as you face tricky situations that require a different response. You might develop different interests that will tweak your plan. You may find different ways to manage your stress. Your priorities might shift, your goals might change, and the layout of your life might look very different than it does today. You are still growing and learning and life can be so very unpredictable at times.
But for now, you have a plan for your year and you are prepared to carry it out. You have set a path before you with a mindset that will help you be successful, faithful, healthy, and well.
You are ready to face each day with the decisions you have made and that’s a really great thing.
“Lord, I lift up my kids to you with all their needs and desires, all their dreams and goals. I pray for your direction and your provision, your protection and your presence in their lives every day. Help them seek you in everything they do. Fill them with your strength and wisdom when faced with hard decisions. Remind them of your unfailing love and relentless grace when they fail. Help them remember your promises when they lose hope. I pray they will always trust that You have created an incredible and purposeful plan for their lives. May they walk with you every step of the way. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”