Imagine that you are the king of England as a parent. Your job is to raise the next king to assume the throne. You can't afford to not do it well. The future of England depends upon it. You can't let your son out of your sight! He is much too important to play with the street children. You must train him in fencing, teach him history, etc., because he can't sound un-skilled when he makes his first world-broadcast speech. He has to win the fencing duel, because the entire realm will be watching. He can't afford not to win—because he is the future monarch of the realm. Translation: you take him out in the horse ring and put him through his paces, because soon he will have to perform before large audiences! You are grooming him for something very important. He has to be the best athlete and the most articulate spokesman, using his every hour to develop, because his future public life depends upon it. He has got to be good at everything. So, too, as a godly parent, you have to have your sights (as the parents), and their sights (as emerging adults) fixed on what they were created for. Big things are at stake.
With this strong picture in mind, convince your children that they are spiritual royalty. They currently are on the cusp of the greatest spiritual army of all time, chosen for the last sliver of time. Make them aware that the enemy wants to sniper them off of the front lines, one by one. They must see that they are choice targets for the enemy because they are so valuable to the kingdom. They come from a spiritually very advanced family. Have them look around; do they know of any other family that has studied Scripture like you have; not watched junk TV or videos; gone to seminars, workshops and conventions; and trained its own children at such great personal cost? Ask your adolescent to look around for parents who are this hot after God as you two are. Convince them that worldlings’ parents don't care this much. Teach them to pity the children of our pop culture, rather than to want to emulate them! Encourage them to look upward to giants in the faith and giants in history, not downward to mediocrity.
Get your adolescents to understand that you are for them, and that how they are launched is serious business to you. Appeal to their eventual future selves. Show them that you want to give them every advantage, every edge over the entertainment-driven adolescents of the culture, and that you want to lift them high—you want to set them up for vaulting huge successes, both spiritually and practically. Get them mentally on the same page with you, focusing on God's vision for them.
Get them seeing how significant they are—that they can't afford to be messing around with trivia or wasting even anhour, or taking even one wrong turn. Who will condescend to marry them depends upon how on-track they have kept themselves now. There are other hidden gem adolescents who have kept very godly lives (this is what surprised the Prophet Elijah on Mount Carmel). Little deviances have huge consequences just around the corner; being godly marrying material is chief among them. Keep your children’s eyes focused on their upcoming future lives. You and they are building to something huge here.
You can't take something away from children (the culture, aimless peers) without substituting it with large compelling goals that are exciting to them. Get your children to buy into setting (and achieving) high goals for themselves, so that they start out on top of their futures, not on the bottom as most of their peers will. Tell them they need to have several thousand dollars in the bank by the time they graduate so that they can have their own paid for home someday (never have a mortgage, even if they can only start with a scrap of land). Exhort them to learn skills—master skills—so that they become excellent in as many skill areas as possible. Read our eBook on How Not To Waste Your Youth, to see how our forefathers did it.
Simultaneously, marshal their play hours and their stray hours into high octane production. Split their time between either working for you (cultivating huge vegetable gardens for the family or working at whatever you want to see changed/improved/conquered on your estate) or working for others to earn money, or have them doing hands-on apprenticing under someone else, to build their own future financial empires/businesses, so that they will become highly sought-after for their extraordinary expertise in practical skills. They need practice, practice, practice with both the skill development and the productivity. Get their hands "knee-deep" in progressing with both. And get them "knee-deep" in digesting history, biography and how-to books. They have got to see how someone else lived life to the max, to catch the dream for their own. Download our Godly Son and Godly Daughter checklist booklets, if you want a progressive list of what will prepare them well for their own futures. Better yet, order them our book for Savvy Teens (it includes the other titles listed here, and much more).