Helping My Teen Find His Purpose

I wrote in this post on Teen Identity that one of the most important goals of the teen years is for the teen to begin finding a purpose for his life.  What values, virtues, and goals does he want to commit himself to?

Aidan has been reading terrific book about discovering God’s purpose for his life:  LifeWork: Finding Your Purpose in Life by Rick Sarkisian.   I like this book because it begins by emphasizing the importance of recognizing God’s presence in our lives.  Without this awareness, we can never hear His call or follow His lead; we’re just making an educated guess what God might want.  So we must root our search for
our purpose in a strong relationship with God.  Sarkisian lays out the traditional Catholic vocations (priesthood, married life, and consecrated life), then helps the reader inventory his personal talents and strengths in an effort to gain some understanding of where God may be calling him.

Listen for the call. Be awake to hear it.  Answer it.   Easy to write; hard to live!

A book can’t tell you what your purpose in life is.  Obviously. But a book like this can provide tools for getting started, especially when we try to find our way through the fog of life’s distractions.  Aidan won’t have all the answers when he finishes the book, but he’ll have a greater idea of what sort of questions to ask in seeking God’s will for his life.

Finding God’s purpose for us is a lifelong journey on a narrow path.  For me, I know the long path is there, but it’s dark except for the few steps just ahead of me.  Our Father illuminates the Way.  Lights pop on as I walk ahead, trusting that God is leading me.  Unnerving at times, but if I trust, I am protected, loved, and rewarded.

I appreciate the reminder that I need to be awake to God’s presence in order to stay on the path God has chosen for me.  I am too often asleep.  Sleeping through the dishes, through phonics lessons, through Tuesday drives to science classes.  Even sleeping through our family prayer time.  I’m not awake to God’s presence because I am too awake to my own worries. Worried about my never-done-to-do list, the lawn that won’t grow in our backyard, the toys that seem to be breeding in the kids’ rooms.

God is there in the ordinary moments of my life, but I am not awake to notice, to embrace his presence.  In parenting my teen, I parent myself!

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