"3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . We have lift-off of teen shuttle."
"Houston, this is teen shuttle. We have a problem."
"Teen shuttle this is mission control, Houston. What seems to be the problem?"
"I know I'm in a spacecraft. In this great adventure, I must be headed somewhere. But where am I going?"
"Teen shuttle, we've planned this mission for years. We've trained and prepared you. You are the best-qualified astronaut we have; but you don't know where you are going? You don't know your mission?"
"No sir, I don't. Just where am I going? How do I find my mission in life?"
This quandary probably fits someone you know. It may even fit one of your own teens. You've willingly toiled long to provide a quality home education. You've concerned yourself with character and academic content. You anticipate completion of graduation expectancies, and yet your teen may not have a sense of calling. Mission control (that is, God) created and designed each teen for a purpose. He has a mission, career, or vocation. Our responsibility as parents includes helping that teen find and fulfill this God-given calling.
All over the world I have spoken with parents and other educators about the need to instill a sense of calling in youth. While team preaching with my teenage son at the European Student Leadership convention in England, I found students hungry for meaning and purpose in life. The same need emerges from Manila to Maine.
God calls some young people to church work. The calling of most will lead them to godly impact in the broader society through education, law, public policy, medicine, technology, management, entrepreneurism, the arts, and various trades. Each calling or career is equally noble when performed before the face of God.
How can a youth find his mission in life? How can you help your teen find the career prepared for him? Start by teaching that God designed a mission to motivate, master, and move him.
Finding Your Mission
God motivates teens with a sense of mission. He designed them to accomplish a positive and worthwhile work in His overarching plan. The teen that finds a mission finds an assignment, charge, duty, task, aim, objective, goal, purpose, or calling from God. This calling will unfold in a career, occupation, profession, vocation, forte, passion, or specialty, for which the teen develops a strong impulse or inclination. The teen, motivated by a sense of his mission in life, will embrace the work and overcome the challenges inherent in any significant accomplishment.
God wants to master every teen with a godly philosophy of mission. Any touch of fatalism will result in a passive acceptance of some undiscoverable plan and a loss of motivation. Many teens wander in lethargic aimlessness, rooted in existentialism. Humanism places the teen at the center of his own life. Most teens struggle daily with this selfishness. Don't feed it!
We need teens mastered by a mission to serve God with the understanding that God has printed a calling into the depths of their beings. This kind of teen will seek to discover and fulfill His will. This teen will do good and transform civilization little by little and day by day. This kind of teen will do God's work and say with Paul at the end of his life, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course . . ." 2 Timothy 4:7.
God moves each teen by his mission to love God, love his neighbor, and fulfill his unique calling. Jesus quoted the great commandment to describe this first mission in life when he said, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God . . ." Every teen is called to live hour by hour loving God rather than self or other contemporary false gods. Fulfillment of this mission provides the basis for the next. Each teen moved by God will do as Jesus said, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Jesus went about doing good his entire earthly life. He provided the ultimate example by loving his neighbor to the death.
Youth who simply do the maximum good their lives can produce will fulfill a major role in transforming this world. God will also move the teen to fulfill his unique calling. The Creator designed him for a specific purpose. "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." Ephesians 2:10. Each teen has his specific work to accomplish. God designed him to use his God-given talents, in God-chosen settings, for the purposes God deems most important. As the teen discovers his unique mission he will move into positive, godly Christian action. Much of this action should find effective expression as the teen develops in a God-given career path.
"Mission control, I think I'm getting the idea. You designed and prepared me to accomplish a specific purpose with my life. Now, how can I discover and fulfill this mission? What do I do now?"
"Next you need to learn biblical principles involved in the idea of finding and fulfilling a calling/career designed by God. Then we will match your personality, vocational interests, skills, and priorities with your calling/career. Why don't you check out this column in the next issue of Practical Homeschooling?"