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How to Help Your Teen Discover Their Life’s Work

Have teens? Let me guess…

Your son wants to be a garbage man, right? And your daughter has a burning desire to be a data entry operator, I’ll bet!

Not that there is anything wrong with either of these professions, but honestly, I’d imagine that for the most part, your poor teenager may have NO idea what he or she wants to be “when they grow up,” nor do they have a burning desire for anything much more than going to the movies with their friends over the weekend…

How to Help Teen Find Career

Such is the life of the typical, American teen. In our current culture, they find themselves floating somewhere between feeling like a kid and being considered a grown-up (by a multitude of standards…); not fitting into either camp, not necessarily wanting to, and yet – needing to belong somewhere!

So expecting them to know what they want to be or do when they grow up is like expecting a beginning musician to know what’s their favorite genre of music to play…

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What’s A Parent To Do?

Many parents I know, including myself, desperately want to help their kids navigate this time period. Nobody enjoys feeling insecure or unsure of themselves; many of us live with the memory of questioning everything about ourselves, too, and out of love want to enable our kids to avoid that personal discomfort or even fear of the future.

We subject our kids to personality tests, spiritual gift tests, reading/working through the book “What Color is My Parachute?”, career placement surveys or classes, or a myriad of other tools to figure out their future college or major or career. We want our children to be successful in life, don’t we?

But – and I hope this doesn’t come as a surprise to you – that is not our job!

Our job as Christians is to glorify God by serving Him and others with competence, dependability, integrity, and loyalty.

Our job as parents is to teach our children to do the same.

Do we believe in our heart of hearts that God has a plan for us? If so, do we believe that God has a plan for our children?

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11

If we have hearts that truly seek to glorify God, He promises to be faithful to reveal those plans for and to us…and those plans include our future work and career!

“I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.”
Proverbs 8:17

Not that we shouldn’t desire to discover and develop our children’s gifts and talents. This starts from their personality type and extends to learning styles and musical or artistic talents. Additionally, we absolutely should work hard to learn and grow in them, to be good stewards of those qualities. But success is defined in so very many different ways!

So What We Need to Do Is This:

Help our kids learn how to work hard with whatever job or responsibility at hand…

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might…” 
Ecclesiastes 9:10

…and then rest and leave the results to God, because

God hasn't called us to be successful, but to be faithful... Click To Tweet

I hope, dear mom (and dad!) that knowing this helps you to breathe easier.

I hope that this helps you look at your teen without stress and anxiety.

I hope you can begin to engage again with your teen as a co-journeyman, and look upon them with eyes of encouragement and promise, knowing that in God’s perfect timing, He will prepare him or her for whatever He has already prepared for them to do, and bring it to fruition.

Relax and breathe…and live confidently that in due time, they’ll discover their life’s work…their true and fulfilling calling…

Books To Inspire TeensDo you have teens? Are you struggling with this right now? Or have any other words of wisdom to share with us all? We’d love to hear them in the comments!!

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Pat is a Yankee city-girl who has been adopted by the sleepy, sunny south. Married for 30 years and the mother of 5, she woke up one day recently to discover she reached the stage of life where she is the “older woman” described in Titus 2:3-5. A coffee lover, the purchase of a coffee shop a few years ago was her personal foray into the small, family-owned business arena.Today, PatAndCandy.com is her outlet for packaging up and sharing the nuggets of wisdom God and life experiences have taught her.
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12 Responses to How to Help Your Teen Discover Their Life’s Work

  1. Donna @ Soul Survival May 2, 2016 at 9:18 am #

    What a great post! I believe it is so important to glorify God in whatever we do and teach out children the same. That’s real success. I also loved how you encouraged parents to be faithful and leave the results to God. Blessings!
    Donna @ Soul Survival recently posted…“Are you ready?” May 2My Profile

    • Pat May 2, 2016 at 10:22 am #

      Thanks, Donna! Parents (myself included) sometimes tie up our identity with what our kids DO, and/or how they “turn out”. A tragically wrong barometer of success at any level! I think we all need this reminder now and again…

  2. Lori Schumaker April 28, 2016 at 3:59 pm #

    Thanks for the reminder to point our children to Jesus, follow Him, and work diligently at each thing He places before us. We can run ourselves into a physical and emotional tizzy trying to pick or work out just the “right” scenario for our kids. But we need to give that to Jesus just like all other things. We do our part, and He will do the best part!
    Blessings and smiles,

    • Pat April 28, 2016 at 4:29 pm #

      Ah, yes, Lori…that’s so helpful if/when we can remember that HIS is the best part 😉
      Have an awesome week ~ and may He continue to help you point your kids to Himself…

  3. Beth April 27, 2016 at 10:23 am #

    I love your intentionality in this post, Pat. If we steer our children to develop their skills and experiences in whatever “is at hand” as you’ve so wisely stated, they will be ready for what lies ahead. They will develop the character quality of responsibility and dedication for wherever the Lord may lead them in the days to come. Great thoughts!
    Beth recently posted…Comment on How Grief and Humility Sets You Free And WW Linkup by SusanMy Profile

    • Pat April 27, 2016 at 8:28 pm #

      Thanks, Beth! I do have to admit this hasn’t always been my perspective. It is definitely a by-product of age and experience. But I hope it helps younger mothers to discover what’s essential as their own children grow…

  4. Kym April 14, 2016 at 10:52 pm #

    As a homeschool family, we really did focus on developing godly character first, and emphasized to our kids that whether they go to college or not, and no matter what they do to earn their paycheck, their job was to glorify God. My oldest two have graduated, and my third son will graduate this spring. He isn’t planning to go to college right away because he’s still figuring out how to pursue his lifelong dream – – – to be a trash man. I’m completely serious! LOL He does want to do something like own/operate his own trash company or maybe manage a waste-water treatment plant. But your opening line for this post made me laugh because my teen son really does want to be a trash man. 😀

    • Pat April 15, 2016 at 7:13 am #

      What a riot! And I’ll bet he’ll be the BEST owner/operator/manager, too…whatever he decides! I think we as parents sometimes forget what’s *really* important, what’s essential, and “major on the minors”. I’m not throwing stones, mind you, ’cause I’m there too sometimes… But it’s great to hear that you’ve “got it!” 🙂

      BTW, love your blog design and theme! Our blog developed from one we called “Mom’s Morning Coffee”, which spawned the name for our link party “Coffee and Conversation”…so I’d have to say we appear to be kindred spirits!!

      Thanks for your comment and stopping by…hope to see you again ’round these parts!
      Pat recently posted…Being Refreshed…by Refreshing OthersMy Profile

  5. Marilyn Lesniak March 31, 2016 at 3:47 pm #

    I think as a parent we have all been there. I had faith I raised my kids to be moral and fsithful men and it paid off. I had to trust them and stood behind them in their choices. (I was rewarded by doing so.). Thanks for joining #ThursdayFavoriteThings! I found your link on my first try. Pinned and shared.
    Marilyn Lesniak recently posted…Recipe Sharing Party #9My Profile

  6. Elizabeth Spencer March 29, 2016 at 1:07 pm #

    Pat, I love this! Such an encouraging perspective for a mom like me who’s in the thick of college info packets in the mail every day and a barrage of emails about “THE FUTURE” from my teen’s guidance counselor (who, I want to add, is fabulous). I think parents need to be advocates for their kids sometimes in this area. I know from personal experience that working with preschoolers is my daughter’s gift and passion. Yet her teachers always say she’s “too smart” for that. At which point I have to step in sometimes and tell them, “You’ve never seen Lydia when she’s working with a 3-year-old. This is how her heart beats. This is work that matters. And this is work that needs to be done by someone who loves it and is gifted for it.” Also, the idea that our kids have one “right’ path and that all others are “wrong” puts pretty severe limits on the creativity and power of God. 😉
    Elizabeth Spencer recently posted…10 Things I Don’t Wish I’d Done Differently As a Mom (Part 2)My Profile

    • Pat March 29, 2016 at 5:12 pm #

      Man, you would think that educators would encourage a budding fellow-educator! We NEED teachers whose hearts beat with passion for their students!!! (yes, this from a homeschooin’ mom!)
      Oh, Elizabeth, as confident as I am that “He’s got it…” I will be praying for Lydia to find confidence in the knowledge of God’s work for her life, and wisdom for you as you continue to guide her steps… Sending you BOTH lots of {{hugs}}!

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