What do you want your child to be doing at age 16?

Saturday morning and we had a relatively ‘free’ day without anything much planned. Quite unusual in our busy household of 2 adults and 2 teenagers. Both kids had beaten me to the shower and as I jumped in the shower, our recently turned 16 year old stated that she was just starting her application to go on a Beach Mission with Scripture Union over Summer holidays. (Beach mission is where a group of about 30 Christians go to a beachside holiday spot and run games, crafts and activities for families for about ten days and also share the Gospel with them.) Our family has modelled being on mission together, locally, interstate and overseas. For three years, we went as a family on Scripture Union Beach Mission together, one of the reasons being that we wanted our children to love ‘being on mission’ and them realising that this was normal Christian living.

Princess shouted out the names of the two people whom she thought would be great to be referees for her application and asked my opinion. I smiled.

Here was my recently turned 16 year old. She was initiating this herself, not at my urging. She had a part time job at McDonalds (magic on the resume as a ‘door-opener’ for other jobs and brilliant for training in hard work ethics and leadership development), had obtained her learners driving permit and was now filling out a form to serve other people during her holiday time. (She has already been involved in serving at the church in children and youth activities for a number of years as well as other ministries at church like being involved in the Healing Rooms plus helping to run the overnight Youth Prayer). This also meant a loss of income over the busiest time period and loss of public holiday penalties plus giving up spending New Years Eve with friends (important at age 16).

Sure, there are times when I think she may frustrate me a tad, but overall, I love this time of parenting.

I am raising my children to change the world, in big and small ways. One of the most effective ways they can begin to do this is by influencing others in a positive way and helping those people change their world.

What do you want your child’s life to look like when they turn 16? What you do now, in the younger years, influences remarkably what they will do when they are 16.