Life is a like a Y-shaped road constantly asking us to choose the right path. We constantly find ourselves at a crossroads. No sooner do we make one choice are we asked to make another. Everything in life is a choice. Making choices require wisdom and thoughtfulness.
The choices that we make have consequences, reveal our character, and affect our lives profoundly. Have you observed that some of the most important decisions we make in life—decisions that impact our whole existence— are imposed on us in the early state of life? here, I would like to address you, teenagers as they refer to you. You represent new directions for humanity and open us up to the future. In your eyes are hidden the key that opens the door to a bright future. In your hearts is the love that all of us are so desperately needed. So this is an important time of your life. So, it needs to be shaped well.
The teenage years are a fragile period in life, yet more probably happens during this period than all the other periods. The moment we attain the age of adolescence, we have to choose a college, a major; that means leaving the bosom of our parents for the first time. It is an exciting time, but it is also full of unknown. The key to independence from parents is wide open. Peer influence and acceptance become very important at the same time. Also, the bodily hormones don’t help the cause either (you know what I mean). More importantly, it is also the time when the church asks them to make a commitment to the faith through the sacrament of confirmation. Thus, indubitably, the teenage years are the hardest stage of our development. To quote a good friend of mine: “it is hard to be a teenager”.
At that stage of life, life’s most crucial questions such as what should I do with my life? What should I do to be successful, loved, and happy? What’s the meaning of all this? These questions become the most vivid. They demand that answers are articulated, and yet no answers make sense yet. So while it is necessary to let them to figure things out on their own, but not without guidance. Not bossy guidance, but good people they can trust. They are bombarded with all kinds of temptations, so they flirt with failure on a daily basis.
First, get a mentor. Have an older person who can advise you, and you can look up to. This is the best gift you can give yourself. Let’s face it. You have to do a lot, but you don’t know a lot. You probably have a lot of potential, but you have no experience. So if you are to make fruitful choices, you must have a guide. That mentor can be a parent, a friend, an aunt/uncle, your pastor, or a teacher. Get someone! Get someone who inspires you to be the best version of yourself, and someone who will challenge you if need be. Be honest with him/her.
Second, befriend books. As the adage goes, “those who read lead”. Make it your goal to read something daily. Magazine, newspapers, online stuff don’t count as part of your daily reading. Reading allows your thinking and verbal skills to develop. Your young mind is open to endless possibility. Be careful what you feed it with. A young age is the time to increase your vocabulary repertoire. The more you read, good words automatically stay with you. Interestingly, reading makes you more attractive and fun too. You don’t want to be a boring conversational partner. The brain is flexible and produces good thoughts through reading. Reading enables you to engage a variety of people in conversation because your brain is well fed.
Lastly, pray. If God exists and created you, he probably has a plan for you. It is fitting that you ask him unabashedly what that plan is. Confidently ask God to reveal the path of life for you. Only in God through prayer do we overcome uncertainty, find real meaning to life that we are desperately looking for, curb our passions that declare a war on us, and find light in decisive choices. Prayer is your best bet. Deepen it.