Tonight I am going to speak to a group of teenagers at a High School Baccalaureate service. I just finished my sermon and it is a short little devotional about the plans God has for us. While writing this sermon I thought of all the things I wanted to tell these teenagers. There is a lot of advice I would like to give them, but I am not sure they would care. In case they ever do, I thought I would share a little unsolicited advice.
1. The World is Small, Go See It – Growing up I thought the world was big and it scared me. Now I travel without a second thought. If you want to go somewhere, you can drive If not, there is a ticket that will take you there. Seeing the world will change your perspective on people and places more than you will understand.
2. Spend You Money On Experiences Not Things – You will never regret not owning that pair of shoes, but you will regret not going with your friends that one weekend. When you are older you will enjoy talking about all you have done far more than all you have owned.
3. Enjoy Your Youth – Run, jump, swim, stay up late, sleep in, eat some junk food, play, nap and generally relax. A day will come when none of that will be possible. You will miss it all.
4. Keep Your Mouth Shut – You do not know as much as you think you do. Listen and learn.
5. Buy Used – You do need some stuff. Avoid paying retail costs on anything. Garage sales, thrift stores, flea markets, discount racks and clearance items work just as well and save you a lot of money.
6. Give Generously – I keep extra cash hidden in my wallet for emergencies, usually they are not my emergencies. Give to needs as they come, especially to family and friends. Don’t expect repayment or you will be disappointed. Also give to Church, mission, a good organization you support, children’s programs and anything they truly helps people. Tip well too.
7. Avoid Debt – I put everything on a credit card for bonus points and free gifts, but I pay it off every month. Pay cash if you need to. Try not to borrow much except for your mortgage. The borrower is a slave to the lender.
8. Pay a Tax Professional – It just makes life easier. You do not have to keep up with all the laws and they will know deductions you never knew existed. This will pay for itself 10 times over.
9. Marry a Christian – I do not know if anyone who has ever regretted this decision. I know dozens of people who didn’t and regret it everyday.
10. Follow God’s Instruction – This will not be easy, but it is always best. This will help you avoid guilt and regret. The things the world offers you will leave you feeling cold and alone eventually. The people who spare themselves no pleasure are very seldom happy.
What advice would you add to my list?