A young person is one who has reached a point where he can take responsibility for any aspect of his life no matter how insignificant it seems. It is a state and an opportunity that one has only once in his lifetime. It is a passing phase; usually it slips away. Most people only discover that they were young. Unfortunately, young people are either engaged in unprofitable or destructive associations and activities. They end up learning things and making mistakes that have far reaching implications for the rest of their lives. I have written here few suggestions that will be profitable to the young in this regard, if they take heed.
1. Personal and Profound Relationship with God: the first and most important priority is to seek, have and maintain a relationship with God at the earliest age possible. God is our maker, he has plans for us, he knows the tomorrow of our lives; it is only with him that we can become the best. As soon as you can read this, seek a personal relationship with God. This is how to do it; realize that as a man you are a sinner, repent of your sins, accept and believe the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ on the cross for you, pray always, get a bible, read it always, obey its instructions, believe its promises and join yourself to a church or fellowship where you can get enough encouragement from other believers. This is the most important decision you can ever make in your life. If you make it, it will save you many troubles and regrets.
2. Self Discovery: the next priority is to discover yourself. Look inwards to discover your potentials – the things you can do easily, your aspirations – what you desire to become in life and your interests – things you like to do. These will help guide your decisions and actions as you grow up. Discover your personality – whether you are the quiet and shy type or you are talking and outgoing. Find out the subjects you are interested in and pass easily and those you need to work hard in order to pass. Ask your parents/teachers/elder ones what it means to be male/female; how to take care of yourself and how to conduct yourself. You may also need to read books by godly authors.
3. Education/Self-Development: this is very important. Formal education is acquired in the classroom in schools while informal education is acquired elsewhere by yourself from your experience, from your parents/elders etc. You need to seek both. Education is a sign that you are growing, it gives you an edge over others and helps you fit into and function properly in the society. When you are young that is the time to read your books and study hard to acquire educational qualifications. It is not the time to be lazy, roaming about, attending parties/picnics, watching movies/football, drinking/smoking etc at the expense of your studies and other more important life issues. It is time to read and study about self development/improvement, how to overcome your inherent weaknesses and deficiencies, how to dress better, cultivating good manners, how to cook, wash your clothes and iron them, farm, drive, keep a house neat and tidy etc. It is the time to read and memorize the Bible, learn to pray and cultivate other godly habits. It is the time to ask questions and learn from elders.
4. Purposeful/Profitable Friendships: Good friends are assets, you will need them always. They can be of great help in your times of need both now and in the future and encourage you to success. Seek to establish friendships with both your sex and the opposite sex. But such friendships must be purposeful and profitable. Since your friends will in the end determine your character, you must ensure that they are godly and at least share your values and have ambition to become something reasonable in the future. It is good to share the friendship and company of the opposite sex; this will help you to learn about them and how to relate with them. But you must guard against becoming excessively attached to only one person. You may not be able to resist the temptation to have sex and this will affect your relationship with God and your future adversely. Avoid the temptation to waste your time hanging around with boyfriends/girlfriends and sleeping with them because you may regret the consequences all your life. Such consequences include pregnancy, abortion, dropping out of school, emotional troubles, early unwanted marriages etc. it is advisable to keep just a normal and harmless contact with the opposite sex. When you have acquired the necessary educational qualification, personal development, emotional maturity and financial stability then you will be ready to get married. Choose your friends, determine beforehand the purpose of the friendship, ensure it is profitable to you and the person, grow together with them and keep the contact as you grow.
5. Godly Role Models: you need people who you may look up to, learn from and whose lives you may imitate. They should be people you are comfortable with, with whom you can share your challenges, mistakes, weaknesses and failures. They should also be willing and able to help you. Your parents/guardians are your first role models. Listen to them and learn from them. Don’t be independent and don’t claim self-sufficiency. No matter what you want to become, some people have become it and you should find some around you. They will not be perfect though. God arranges role models for some naturally, others may need to make efforts to choose or determine who becomes their model. Whatever your case, ensure your model is godly, shares your values and aspirations and interests and is already progressing in them.
Conclusion: every young person is normally naive – not knowing much yet full of energy and adventurous. Consequently, they are prone to serious mistakes. However he who walks with the wise shall be wise. If you take counsel now you will be glad you did. God bless you.