Dr. Gregory Jantz

4 Ways to Support Your Young Adult

June 30, 2021

Young adults are still young into their twenties. Just how far into their twenties really becomes individual to each person. In general, young men mature later than young women. And life’s challenges and “launching” can be extremely difficult for young people after they graduate from high school. Whether they’re off to college or not, they are no longer in the cocoon called high school. When they’re no longer in that cocoon, they realize just how much of a cocoon it was. 

At this stage, young people often obtain employment or work in volunteer positions, gaining experience for after high school. They’re driving, earning their own money, and experiencing greater and greater independence from their parents — if not monetarily, then certainly physically and emotionally. 

Supporting Their Independent Faith Journey: Special Teams Coach

This young champion you’ve just spent the last 16-plus years of your life molding may suddenly have questions or doubts about his or her faith. They may continue their journey of faith but seek out a different congregation or church denomination. If they attend school away from home, this will certainly be the case. 

You are now definitely on the sidelines. While they’re still in high school, you can do a lot more directing, but you are still on the sidelines. Actually, that’s where you’re supposed to be. You’re like a special teams coach on a football team. A special teams coach gets to do a lot of work with individual players during practice. Once the game begins, the calls are being made by the head coach, whose strategies may or may not be understood or appreciated by the special teams coach. 

It can also be incredibly nerve-wracking to be a special teams coach, on the sidelines of the big game. You can’t be out there, directing the players. Rather, they must use the knowledge you’ve given them, and the skills they’ve gained, to run the plays effectively. You know they’ll make mistakes, but just hope the opposing side doesn’t take too much advantage of those mistakes. =

Here are four ways you can support these young people: 

Consistent Faith – I think of all the support you can give to young people in this stage of their lives, the most important is your consistent faith. This isn’t the time to be drafting new plays on the sidelines. These young people need to be able to look to you and see the steadfast expression of your faith being lived out on a daily basis. 

A Willing Ear – Notice, I didn’t say a willing mouth. At this point in their lives, they’ve probably heard everything you’ve had to say. What they need is a willing ear. They need you to let them do the talking and just listen to them. Often, they need a sounding board, to test out what the truth they know sounds and feels like. They know what’s right, they just need to try it on for size first. 

A Reaffirmation of Belief – This is not a reaffirmation of a belief in God but rather a reaffirmation of your belief in your child. This is a reminder to make sure you bestow a blessing on your child, especially at the point he or she is ready to live out from under your roof. Although they are excited about the prospect, they’re also nervous about the outcome. Your faith affirms the best part of them. This is what you must continue to support. 

An Open Door – While your child may be ready to leave the next, he or she needs to know you won’t lock the door on their way out. There’s that classic joke about a kid going off to school who comes home only to realize the parents have moved and left no forwarding address. Every child wants to know that his or her parents will never stop waiting or hoping for their return. It is not the wish of young people to return home once they’re left, but they need to know they can. 

Support To Be a Champion

No matter what the age of your child, you are called to support his or her molding into God’s champion. This is a calling, a mission, a ministry. It’s also an incredible joy and privilege.

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