“What are you going to do after high school?”
It’s a question every teen is asked, but most don’t know how to answer. It’s a lot of pressure to put on a young person to articulate in one sentence the purpose for the rest of their lives.
Most teens are grappling with a world of emotions and uncertainties. They often wonder if they’re good enough or have anything to offer the world, what goals they should set, and if their dreams are foolish or worth pursuing. It can be a very confusing time!
Add in the criticisms of their peers and any volatile situations at home, and having hope for the future can be a tall order. But it isn’t only teens who struggle with setting goals for their lives.
In a recent study, a professor at Virginia Tech asked a large group of people, “What are your goals for your life?” and discovered the following:
- 80% of Americans do not have goals for their future.
- 16% have goals but have never written them down.
- 4% have written their goals but never looked at them again.
- 1% have written their goals and looked at them regularly.
Who is this 1% of Americans who write goals and look at them regularly? They are MILLIONAIRES!
Writing and looking at goals aligns with Habakkuk 2:2, which says, “Write the vision, make it plain.”
Teens need to know one thing—God has created each one of us for a purpose that includes fulfilling the great plans He has for us (Jeremiah 29:11).
Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Let’s help our teens get clear on a vision for their future. When they start to dream again and reach toward God to fulfill those dreams, they will find hope where it may have been lost.
A proven way to do so is by creating a vision board.
Terri Savelle Foy Ministries has taught young people around the country, including young women rescued from human trafficking, how to stir up their dreams through vision boarding. The results have been amazing!
What is a vision board?
A vision board is a visual way to set and track goals through a collection of images, words, or objects that represent your dreams and goals for your life—not just the simple ones, but also those that may seem impossible right now. It’s a representation of the life you’ve always wanted to live. Many teens don’t know that dreams and visions are often placed inside you by God Himself—they are His will for your life (Psalm 37:4).
To have a vision for the future is imperative to accomplishing that vision. Because if you don’t know where you want to go, you likely won’t go anywhere.
You can help your teen create a vision board and stir up the dreams and gifts inside them. Here’s how to start.
1. Help Your Teen Identify Their Vision
Every teen has something they’ve secretly dreamed of doing or becoming. Because the fear of rejection is so great, they often hide these dreams and don’t believe they are possible.
Once you’ve shared what vision boarding can accomplish, help your teen identify their vision. Encourage them to think as big as possible—if they can be or do anything without failing, what would it be?
Encourage your teen to pray and ask God to show them His will for their lives. Tell them to give themselves permission to dream with God.
Having vision and purpose gives your teen something to look forward to—something to reach for beyond what is right in front of them today. Teens often only see what is in front of them today, which can cause depression. Creating a vision board allows them to get crystal clear about what they want in life and look forward with positive anticipation.
One question Terri Savelle Foy asks the teens she works with to ask themselves is this:
“Ask yourself how you want this year to end. Imagine it’s Dec. 31, and you say, ‘This has been the most amazing year of my life.’ What needs to happen for you to say that?”
Proverbs 23:7 says as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. It’s time to help our teens recreate their vision of themselves to match what God sees in them.
2. Encourage Your Teen to Write Down the Vision
Once your teen has identified their dreams and goals, the next step is to write them down.
It could be a car, making a sports team, getting into college, becoming a singer, owning a business, or having a family. It can be a whole list! They should include their short- and long-term goals and look for scriptures that confirm and support those dreams.
Now, your teen is ready to create a vision board.
This is the fun part for your teen because every vision board looks different and is designed to fit the personal taste of the person dreaming. It could be a small corkboard on a desk or a large poster board hanging on the wall. It can be a laminated sheet or a notebook with pages to flip through.
Remember, this will likely need to be a private experience for your teen. They don’t want to be judged; our dreams and goals are highly personal. Make sure if they do share their dreams with you, you don’t say one negative word about them. This is a time for encouragement.
No matter how outlandish it may seem, don’t share any discouraging words. What seems impossible to you may be just what they go on to accomplish!
Here is a suggested supply list to get your teen started:
1. Collect pictures, objects, and words from magazines or online to represent each goal. (Check out Pinterest for vision board layouts.)
- You can use words to represent a goal, such as Car, and include inspiring words like Courage or Faith.
2. Visit a craft store, like Hobby Lobby, to gather supplies. The following are some suggestions:
- A corkboard, pushpin board, or poster board as the main frame for your work
- Magazines to find images or wording to cut out
- Double-sided tape
- Glue sticks
- Decorative letters, ribbons, or other items (if desired)
- Images printed from the internet
- A picture of yourself within the goals
- Anything else to help you bring your goals to life
3. Add embellishments, if you like, to decorate and personalize your board. Make it something you want to look at every day!
4. Hang it where you’ll see it daily. Keep it in a private place if you like. Some suggestions include:
- On a desk
- In a planner
- On the inside of a cabinet
- Under a car visor
- On a wall
- On a nightstand
For more ideas and inspiration on creating a personal vision board, check out Terri Savelle Foy’s book “Dream It. Pin It. Live It.”
3. Ask Your Teen to Assign a Time Frame to Their Visions
Once you’ve shared the idea of a vision board, encouraged your teen to write down their dreams and goals, and purchased supplies, you may need to step away. But before you do, ask your teen to assign a time frame to their visions and goals.
“The vision is yet for an appointed time” (Habakkuk 2:3, KJV). For example, rather than just saying, “I will get a job,” say, “I will get a job by May 15.”
Encourage your teen to listen for the Lord while they create their board. Explain how when we set a goal, God will show us where to make changes that will expedite our journey.
4. Help Your Teen Keep the Vision Before Their Eyes
Once your teen has completed their vision board, remind them that the 1% of people who find success are those who always keep their dreams and goals in plain view. Out of sight, out of mind, right? So, keep it before your eyes!
Encourage your teen to place their vision board where they’ll see it daily. Here are some ideas:
- On a desk
- On their nightstand
- In a book, if it is pocket-sized
- On a wall where they walk by every day that is private to them.
Remind your teen to look at their vision board daily, pray over it, and believe God for those dreams to come to pass. Thank Him in advance!
You can help your teen stir up new hope and vision for the future by helping them create a personal vision board. Teens need to be repeatedly reminded that they are unique, have gifts no one else has, and God has a special plan for their lives. They need to know that they can live their dreams no matter how they feel today!