This week I witnessed my nephew and niece, David and Isabella Anderson, graduate from their high school. Isabella graduated with honors and ranked in the top fifteen percent, while David was among the first in his engineering class! I am extremely proud of them. Isabella will study international business while David wants to become an international architect. Their parents have worked hard to instill a world vision in both of these young people. They have caught the vision to attempt great things in life.
I believe our young people are brilliant, hardworking, and have creative genius. They will do more for their generation than we can ever dream. They will create, invent, achieve, and discover things we have not even considered. But they need you! Today, I want to give you seven keys to empower your young people.
1. Give them a lofty ambition. Too many of us are settling for much less than what we were created to be. Life has robbed us of our childhood dreams. Do not make the mistake of robbing them of theirs. We may have missed it, but we cannot allow our young people to think small. Encourage them to believe they can invent, discover, lead, and own. The bigger the challenge, the higher they will perform.
Brian Littrell was the lead singer of the successful band Backstreet Boys. He was born with a heart defect. In 1998, he went through multiple surgeries to close a hole in his heart. All the odds were against him. But he had a lofty ambition. Brian said, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.”
2. Create an environment and opportunity for them. We are the product of our environment. Even God looked at our sinful world and sent Jesus to give us a vision of passion, purpose, and pride. I have seen thousands of young lives transformed by the environment created by our ministry.
I met Sanjay when he was in his early twenties. He became a Christian while attending one of our conferences in New Delhi, India. Prior to his salvation, Sanjay was living in fear and running from the authorities because he was a drug addict and a drug dealer. He went through a course in our Mission Training Center where his life was transformed. Today, Sanjay is ministering to tens of thousands.
3. Teach them more about responsibilities than rights. I have found people respond more to bragging than to nagging. If you want young people to mature, you have to say, “This is what needs to be done. This is what I expect. This is the amount of time in which to finish it.” Then you must “inspect what you expect.” Encourage them along the way, “What a great job you’re doing. I believe in you!” If you give them something to live up to, they will! Young people are crying out for someone to believe in them and to expect them to do a phenomenal job.
4. Teach them to be overcomers. Nobody became a success without some mistakes. Our mistakes may be some of the steps on the ladder of their success, but they will make their own. One of the greatest enemies of success is the fear of failure. Teach your young people to take bold steps. Teach them to think, “What if this does work out!” When they make a mistake, share your own, and tell them they can move past it, too!
5. Introduce them to your support system. As much as we want the young generation to be independent, it is much easier to build on an existing foundation. They do not have to do what God called you to do. But you have a network of friends, resources, and a support system your young people can build on. Why cause them to reinvent the wheel?
6. Expose them to the world. With the increasing threat/blessing of globalization, challenge your young people to make the world their playground. When we think of our future in the same town, state, or country we grew up, we are thinking too small. The global community will leave them a pauper unless we prepare our young people to have a global perspective.
7. Teach them to make God their partner. We can have all the success in the world, but unless our mission is connected to our Creator, our success will be mortal. When we do what we do for an eternal purpose, then we are living for a divine purpose. With God on our side, we can achieve anything!
Friend, God has given you some exceptional young people. Respect and recognize their individuality. Your job is not to make them who you are but to create an environment for them to discover who God has created them to be. Our job is to facilitate, guide, and encourage. You have had a shot at your life – now allow them to live theirs. Speak positive, affirmative words over their lives. You can never over-emphasize their values and vision. They have what it takes. They will only climb to the heights you allow them. Give them permission to excel in life. Become their mentor, consultant, role model, and friend. Do not just be satisfied with helping your own family; help, assist, and empower other young people you know. With your blessing, and God on their side, your young people will go on to achieve exceptional things. Friend, somebody believed in you long before you were a success; now it is your turn to believe in them!
Congratulations David and Isabella Anderson! I believe in you.
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