What Key Tips can Help a Teenager Navigate Life?

The teenage years can be very special and beautiful. Teenagers often have very noble ideals. Teenagers however can make wrong choices, which they later deeply regret.

The only way to live is to be close to Christ and to His Church. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Blessed Augustine states, “You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in You.”

What follows is some advice from a priest who has learnt a lot not only from life but also from listening to people who come to him for Confession or for a chat. He has often been deeply moved by young people who had fallen astray but have then come to their senses: they can then see clearly the emptiness of a worldly life, and by the Grace of God they want with all their hearts to return to the Church.

  1. Be aware that the devil is very good at tricking us: A worldly life, the way most young people live, seems very glamorous and “cool.” We do not see however “what is happening behind closed doors.” Far from Christ, people get irritated at each other, they have a lot of anger and hatred, there is often dishonesty and cheating on each other, and they feel a deep emptiness.
  2. Be careful of electronic media and social messaging: Excessive time spent behind screens and on social media can become a true addiction, depriving young people of their opportunity to reach their potential.
  3. Bad company: The most common reason why young people fall astray is that they get mixed up with bad company. We all need friends, so the secret is to find friends who love God.
  4. Youth Groups/Ομάδα: Going regularly to a Youth Group such as Ομάδα is a huge spiritual support. It protects from the many temptations in the world. Young people that go to these groups and the camps find them very enjoyable and uplifting. They make good and lasting friendships and get a deep sense of belonging to the Church.
  5. Spiritual Father: For us Orthodox, there can be no spiritual progress without a Spiritual Father. We go to our spiritual Father for Confession, but also to open our heart, to talk about our problems, and to receive guidance.
  6. Other ways to feed our faith: As part of our daily routine, we need fervent prayer and reading of the New Testament and other spiritual books. Regular and fervent attendance at the Divine Liturgy and other Church Services is also essential. Once we have come to experience true prayer and the worship of our Church it is no longer difficult to keep away from bad company – we come to realise that we do not belong there. 7. Striving to grow in virtue: Throughout our life we all need to strive to grow in humility, in patience, in forgiving and tolerating one another, and in selflessness and love. We need vigilance in keeping away carnal thoughts: we must never look at pornography, inappropriate movies etc. Teenagers need to respect their parents, communicate with them well and honestly, and they should help with the housework, no matter how busy they are.

† Fr D. K.

Source: Lychnos June-July 2020 edition