Helping Teens Discover Their Passions
As a teenager myself, I am aware of the peer pressure often tied to “success” that exists within the minds and hearts of today’s youth. The need to receive an outstanding test score so that one is able to attend a particular university. The need to generate a certain level of income by a specific age. The need to live a lifestyle that one has always desired. These are only some of the many forms of peer pressure that has taken among teenagers on the road to success. As I speak from my own experience, I know that these “inherent needs’’ often become an emotional pressure which is capable of influencing decisions. This emotional pressure is not unique to your child.
Receiving an outstanding test score, generating a sufficient income and living a desired lifestyle can all be good things. However, I find it curious that so many teenagers are willing to follow their peers’ path to success instead of paving their own. While these ideals may be true passions to some, I believe that they are not true passions for others. Neither should they be tied to the definition of success. I believe that these pressures are influenced by comparison to others and would not exist if one did not care so deeply about the opinion of others. After all, comparison is the thief of joy. And maybe even success.
As followers of Jesus, we know that our loving Father has placed specific passions and dreams inside of all teenagers. Although I do not have my life planned out entirely, I share my love for history and writing with homeschooling students and families all over the world. This is because I realized my own passions with the help of my parents. The three points described below are the very way in which my mom and dad helped me to realize my love for history and writing.
- Listen and Observe
No one knows your child better than you, their parents. My mom and dad knew me better than I knew myself at times. They encouraged me to pursue a career in both history and writing based off the things I told them and the observations they made. Listening to your teenager is critical in observing the things that most excite them.
- Become Their Biggest Fan
To virtually all parents, this is something already in practice. You love your child and want the absolute best for them. Continue to support them in what they love to do!
- Encouragement Through Scripture
The Bible is the only source of encouragement and wisdom that has outlasted all others. There are many parts of the Bible that should be taken to heart when helping your teenager discover their passion, but today I will leave you with my favorite.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 ESV
Noah Tetzner is a lifelong homeschooling advocate and student who enjoys sharing his love of history and writing with homeschooling students and families all over the world. He is the host of a popular podcast called The History of Vikings which features discussions about Vikings, Norse myth, and the history of Medieval Scandinavia. Each week, Noah is joined by an acclaimed scholar and the podcast regularly features professors from Oxford, Yale, and Cambridge University. Most recently, Noah has launched a new podcast called Lessons from a Homeschooler where he is joined by experts across the homeschooling world to discuss topics such as history, literature, and education.