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Launching Young Adults

Kurt Bruner, The Center for Strong Families

After years of saying, “When I grow up, I’m going to be…” there comes a point in which your children start going through the steps of actually making it happen. We’ve all heard the phrase “failure to launch” describing young men and women who don’t make that transition for one reason or another. Unfortunately, more and more parents are inadvertently keeping their children from growing up by protecting them from the risks necessary to adulthood. How can you be intentional about successfully launching your older children?

STEP ONE: Be a good coach
You can motivate, encourage, challenge and advise, but you can’t force feed. You can also help your son or daughter articulate what they believe, challenge their thinking, remind them of the “basics” they learned during their earlier years, but the time has come for them to truly own their beliefs. Through that process, you can provide a safe environment to wrestle with and even question the values they learned as children. The key to your influence is maintaining a strong relationship and frequent, open dialogue.

STEP TWO: Give perspective to their big questions
Making the transition into adulthood, your son or daughter will face big questions like: What kind of work should I do? Where should I live? What should I do with my life? The most important thing you can do is to direct them back to overarching Biblical principles. The last words of King David to his son Solomon (in 1 Chronicles 28:9) provide a model for parents advising emerging adults: “And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.”

In the midst of the practical advice parents may offer on setting goals, choosing a job, finding a spouse and so forth, we must also elevate God’s principles such as…

  • Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain (Psalm 127:1).
  • Lose your life to find it (Luke 9:23–24).
  • Number your days aright (Psalm 90:12).
  • Seek first the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33).

STEP THREE: Give a vision for marriage and family
While a small minority of adults will be called to life-long celibate service, most are called to marriage and family (Genesis 2:18-24). We sometimes overlook how much marriage and family serve as the organizing structure of life and the prime arena for our spiritual development. You have a vital part to play in helping your children “leave and cleave.” Actively modeling a Christian family is the foundation, and daily prayer for your child’s future spouse and children is an important commitment. But our highly sexualized and anti-marriage culture also makes it essential that you provide guidance and oversight to help your children form strong families as a key emphasis of their launch into adulthood.

Resources

Recommended Book:

  • Life on the Edge by Dr. James Dobson

Recommended Website:

Prestonwood Support

Prestonwood has a variety of Bible Fellowships for the spiritual development of every person. No matter your age and stage of life, there’s a Bible Fellowship for you. Visit prestonwood.org/connect for more information. The Prestonwood Library, located on the second floor of the Plano Campus, provides additional resources and services to help Christians grow in faith and ministry.

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