When Matt was little, his parents read to him daily from illustrated children's books. He developed a love of stories and art. By age 8 he was writing his own epics, complete with drawings of the characters and action. Never mind that at that stage his people's arms and hands looked like flippers on a seal. He was hooked!
Mom and Dad read and praised every story, even the ones that were difficult to follow. They encouraged Matt's drawings with comments like "That's a great-looking spaceship!" and "Ooh, that bad guy really looks nasty! I'm glad he's not after me!" Matt continued to write – and especially to draw.
As the years went by, his drawing skills improved dramatically. Mom and Dad saw that his interest remained strong, and they supported it in any way they could. They bought drawing pads, special pencils and erasers, and instruction books. They faithfully attended every student art show and enthusiastically expressed their admiration for Matt's work. They planned family vacations to include scenic spots where he could sit for hours at a time and begin a new picture. (One day in Yellowstone National Park, Mom even held an umbrella over his head and sketch pad through two hours of light rain!)
By the time he got to high school, Matt was taking every art class available. When he worked on a picture, classmates would look over his shoulder and say things like "Did you really draw that?" and "You ought to frame that one!" Gradually, the dream of working and serving God in the field of art took root in his mind and heart.
Today Matt is in college, majoring in art. The future shape of his dream isn't clear yet, but he's hard at work, developing the skills and interests God gave him. Mom and Dad are still cheering him on, providing financial support, telling him how proud they are of the young man he's become, and helping him to discover and explore new possibilities.
Is your teen, like Matt, on the track to a meaningful future? Are you, like Matt's parents, finding out what a joy it can be to help a young person make the most of how God has wired him or her?
Since you've read this far, I believe you share my passion to help teens dream big, fulfilling, God-honoring dreams. But how, exactly, do we do that?
If you're thinking that raising a teenager is tough enough without having to turn yourself into a full-time guidance counselor, you're right. I know you're busy. You've already got more to-dos on your list than you're ready to handle. You want to provide the help your teen needs, but you're wondering where you'll find the time and energy to take on what sounds like another big responsibility.
Believe me, I've been there. My wife and I raised four highly active teens while directing multiple sports camps, leading Bible studies, and doing all the other parental running around that's required by modern life. Yet helping our teens to dream never felt like a chore. It was fun, exciting and a natural part of coaching them through adolescence.
That can be your experience, too.
I'll show you how to provide a home atmosphere that supports dreams and builds a teen with the confidence that some dreams can come true.
Adapted from Wired by God: Empowering Your Teen for a Life of Passion and Purpose by Joe White with Larry Weeden, Copyright © 2004, Tyndale House Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. International copyright secured.