Looking To The Future
Several hundred students listened respectfully as I spoke about different ways technology could negatively affect their beliefs, behaviors, and relationships. At one point I surprised myself by saying something like, “Some of you girls are spending time creating Pinterest boards for your wedding and you haven’t even gone on a date yet.”
The looks on the girls’ faces were priceless! I’ll never forget. They were surprised I knew what they were doing and it was a fun moment. The boys faces expressed shock and then they laughed. Of course, girls laughed, too.
I affirmed the girls’ desires to dream and plan. Of course, I’d love everyone to have the wedding of their dreams. But we laughed about how ineffective it is to put the cart before the horse. Seriously – picture it. It doesn’t work!
Especially if you think your daughter wants to get married, on this Monday after hundreds of thousands of people watched and critiqued the royal wedding, I feel compelled to write this: Encourage her to think more about who she is, who she is becoming, the kind of man she wants to marry, and the kind of life she wants to live than the style of her wedding dress, the color of the bridesmaid’s dresses, and the type of flowers she wants in her bouquet.
Planning a life is much more important than planning a wedding.
Use this past weekend‘s wedding and all the news and pictures that will continue to appear for a while to stimulate meaningful discussions about priorities with your girls and boys. Planning a marriage matters more than planning a wedding.
You could use the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to stimulate this discussion, as well, if you want to. It appears they planned more than their wedding, know why they’re good for each other, and have goals for their future. For instance, guests were asked to donate to one of seven charities rather than bring gifts. Looking at the list allows us to see some of what they care about. Looking at it with your kids might get them thinking about their life more than their wedding.
Whether your children think they want to be married or not, it’s never too early to get them thinking about their future. To help your sons and daughters think more about life than their wedding, you can ask questions like these. Use teachable moments and planned conversations. Ask them in whatever order makes sense. Spread them out over time. As appropriate, share how you might have answered the questions when you were their age and how you answer them now. This can make these times more conversational. You don’t want to come across like you’re interrogating your kids. For that reason, you don’t need to always ask the “why?” question immediately.
Get Kids Thinking About Their Future
- Will spiritual growth be a priority? Why or why not?
- What do you expect your values to be? Why?
- What do you want to be known for? Why?
- What do you think you’ll need to do to keep your values and priorities? Why?
- What do you think will fulfill you? Why?
- What will bring you joy? Why?
- What possible careers do you think you’ll enjoy? Why?
- What do you want to spend your time accomplishing? Why?
- In what ways do you hope to have fun? Why?
- How do you picture yourself serving and making a difference? What problems do you hope you can help solve? Why?
- What people groups do you think you’ll always care about or want to learn more about? Why?
- What do you think will always break your heart? Why?
- How important will money and material possessions be to you? Why?
- In what ways will you prioritize your health? Why?
- Will you value ongoing education and learning opportunities? How?
- What about the extended family? Do you want to stay close to us, your siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents? Why?
- How important will friendships be to you? Why?
- Do you hope to marry? Why or why not?
- If you want to date and marry, how will you prepare yourself? Why?
- If you date and marry, what type of person do you hope to fall in love with? Why?
- If you don’t marry, is there anything you can do to prepare yourself? What?
What questions would you add to this list? Look for opportunities to discuss these things that matter much more than the wedding ceremony. Actually, don’t just look for opportunities – create them! That’s how important this is.