by Lori Richey, former youth director
In thinking back to your teen years, did you have it all figured out? Is what you are doing today even close to what you expected? It’s likely that your child wonders what God is calling them to do with their life, and sharing your experiences with them can be extremely helpful.
Be intentional about beginning any conversation by saying something like “This was my experience… yours will be different.” This phrase can help a teen or young adult “hear” what you are saying differently – less like a mandate and more like an example. Choose a moment where distractions are minimized – like a car ride or a long walk – and dive in!
- Talk about why you chose your career or current job; what you’ve liked about it and what you haven’t.
- Share how you’ve seen others deciding on careers or jobs; when this was easy and when it was hard.
- What jobs have other family members held, and how did they choose them?
- Explain what you think of as meaningful work. Ask your child what they might add or change about your definition.
- If you feel that you were called into a certain type of work or service, share how you heard or felt that call and if that made you anxious, excited, or both.
- Share the hopes and dreams you have for your child’s future, but be cautious about projecting your own expectations onto them in a rigid way. For example, you might steer clear of saying “I hope you become doctor” and instead say “You are so good at science and love to help others, I hope you find the best way to use those gifts.”
Enjoy this time of sharing with your growing teen or young adult – they truly want to hear from you and learn from you as they discover their path in life. Be willing to be vulnerable, be willing to listen, and be confident that God will be with you in the process!