“What will you be when you grow up?” That question is asked of us from the early days of childhood. But your college-aged son or daughter is at the point where this question is of utmost importance. Now, it is a matter of choosing a course for life.
It is one thing for our young people to choose a course of study that sounds appealing or that may result in a large income. It is quite another to truly discern what calling God has hard-wired into our sons’ and daughters’ very beings.
Biblically speaking, a calling is a station or specific area of ability and gifting in which we can best serve others. It is not primarily motivated by self-interest or a means to an income, but by the desire to serve in the most effective way possible.
In the first chapter of Genesis, God told Adam and Eve to fill and subdue the earth. At a minimum, to “subdue” the earth means to cultivate the entire created order. For Adam and Eve, this primarily meant to cultivate by farming and caring for animals, but also by finishing the Garden and building cities. For your son or daughter, there is an untold multitude of ways to “cultivate” the earth. God has gifted each of us in unique ways; each of us has a unique plan and purpose to fulfill. Every person has a specific, God-given calling with which we are entrusted. Each of us is to serve others by utilizing this distinctive calling.
How do you help your student discern the calling of God on his or her life?
Dr. John Basie has shared three clues to assist you as you attempt to guide your child toward his or her calling. Each asks a question. The answers will serve as a trustworthy source of wisdom in helping your child choose a direction for life.
1. Who am I?
- Our sons and daughters must answer this question for themselves as they determine their own unique design, preferences, and gifts. They must come to understand for themselves how to uniquely serve others to God’s greatest glory.
- We are each made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). There is only one certain way in which each of us can work most effectively in serving others. Although, as parents, we may see certain gifting and abilities, only our children can adequately answer the question, “How am I uniquely designed as an image bearer of God?”
2. What am I designed to do?
- The answer to this question provides practical ways of living out the calling of God. This entails an honesty and transparency as to strengths and weaknesses.
- Numerous studies show that today’s generation of college students’ focus, when choosing a life direction, is on making a difference in the world around them. They want to change the world by living their calling. Financial considerations take a far-removed back seat.
- One of the most important aspects in answering the question of unique design is finding at least one mentor to walk with your student throughout his or her years in college. (If this mentoring can begin in high school, so much the better.) Having at least one trusted adult to help them discern their giftings, weaknesses, and God-ordained design will enable your student to walk much more smoothly into God’s unique calling on his or her life.
3. What are my resources?
- Tool #1 is having at least one mentor. This is a critical resource that will enable your student to build a future based on the specific calling of God.
- Tool #2 is multifaceted. It is comprised of personality assessments, career assessments, and gift and ability surveys. These tools can help define the call of God that has been hardwired into his or her DNA. These tests, quizzes, and surveys can clarify strengths and weaknesses and help your student leverage that information with greater effectiveness.
- Tool #3 is your student’s “soft skills”—confidence, assertiveness, flexibility, people skills, communication ability, conflict resolution skills, and the like. These are, by and large, learned abilities that employers often find lacking in recent college grads. New workforce recruits may possess great technical knowledge; but these interpersonal skills, so essential to doing well in a paid calling, are often lacking. This final tool involves leading your student to an honest answer regarding whether he or she possesses the necessary resources to excel in a possible calling.
At Impact 360 Institute, we’d like to partner with you in this amazing time of opportunity. The insights shared above were originally communicated by Dr. John Basie at Impact 360 Institute; this is just a sample of the helpful content shared regularly by our faculty. Dr. Basie is a certified executive coach and accomplished leader in the higher education industry; he has years of experience mentoring millennials in critical decision-making areas, such as discerning their callings.
Dr. Basie, along with the rest of our team of experts in the fields of biblical worldview, higher education, and engaging culture, invite you to discover our College Launch Conference. Designed to assist you in guiding your student through this crucial time, this conference will equip you, parents of teens, with a Christ-centered approach to help your student transition to college. During three days together, we can help you build a plan and gain the needed confidence to assist your student as he or she discovers his or her God-given calling and lives it out, especially on campus. It’s never too early to start preparing your teen for this transition.
To learn more about our College Launch Conference, visit.