by Lori Richey, former youth director
As children reach high school and begin to think seriously about next steps in their lives, parents are in a unique position to provide support and encouragement. One of the most powerful things parents can do in this time, or even later on, is to be willing to share about their own journey – of faith, of calling, and of career.
Before you dive into these conversations, however, begin by taking some time to reflect on your own experience. By doing this work early, you can identify key moments and processes that were helpful or not helpful to you – and sharing this with teens or young adults allows them to learn from you in new and unique ways.
Refer to our lists of conversation starters about faith, of calling, and of career and start reflecting on your answers to prepare for talking about them with your teen or young adult.
These tips can help you prepare well:
- Schedule a set time to attend to this task. Make it a priority by choosing a time that doesn’t conflict with something else, and put it on your calendar as an appointment with yourself.
- Minimize distractions by silencing devices and anticipating body needs. When answering the prompts given, consider whether you would like to journal with pen and paper, type on a laptop, or speak into a voice recorder. Be ready with whatever method you decide.
- Begin with prayer by asking God to be with you in this time of quiet reflection, that your memories and experiences would be helpful to loved ones as they navigate their own journey and listen for God’s call.
- For each question, give yourself a few moments to quietly reflect on the topic before recording your answer. Try to respond without editing yourself at this point – let the words flow from your heart.
- Do not worry if you skip an occasional prompt – there is no judgment in the task, simply a structure for your thoughts in a way that will be helpful to others down the road.
- Ask yourself, if I were in my son or daughter’s shoes, what would be important for me to hear?
- Consider this document to be a work in progress – one that can be amended if new memories surface. Keep your reflections in a safe place so that you can return to them at the time of need.