Spring is fast approaching, and if you have a teen in the house you know what that means. Yes, April showers don’t only bring flowers. This time of year can also bring on the teen doldrums—especially if you have a teen who’s nearing graduation. Especially if he’s a teen that doesn’t have much of a clue about what happens once he gets that diploma.
If you’re in that boat, let me suggest something that might help you out a bit: let your student plan a trip.
Now I’m not just talking any old wild-and-free road-trip, nor am I talking about spending the summer at grandma’s. I’m talking about crafting an experience that can help introduce your teen to new cultures and possibly to a future career.
Lack of motivation regarding the future isn’t necessarily a sign of a lazy teen. It also isn’t a sign of low intelligence. Your son or daughter may be having a difficult time deciding on a course of further action for other reasons. For example:
For these and many other reasons, time abroad in the world-at-large may be just the ticket to developing your teen’s skills and helping them discover their calling.
Now I know you may be discouraged by the fact that finances are tough, or that it doesn’t look like you could pull off a big trip, but don’t dismiss the idea too quickly: there are options! Arm-chair travel is often a way to whet your teen’s appetite for a greater experience down the road. At the very least you’d be piquing their curiosity and giving them the motivation to start saving, and that wouldn’t be so bad, would it? So let’s start there!
There are many ways to encourage learning about distant places and peoples during the holidays. Plan now to have your family participate in Operation Christmas Child this fall, or sponsor a child through Compassion International, World Vision, or other organization. Learning about the countries served ahead of time helps bring depth and meaning to your teen’s involvement in these activities.
Traveling as a family can be both a fun and educational experience, something that all families would do well to consider. As your kids grow and move towards independence, consider travel a useful tool for helping your young adult find his or her place in the world.
There is oh-so-much your teen will learn from stretching their wings and moving away (even if just for vacation) from the nest!
From a tiny village on a Caribbean island to a rural town in the US South, Pat Fenner has been homeschooling her 5 children for 20 years through a lens on the world, learning and adapting her methods quite a bit during that time. Visit her blog at PatAndCandy.com.