Parenting for the Launch What I Wish I Knew at 18 What I Wish I Knew at 18 What I Wish I Knew at 18 What I Wish I Knew at 18 What I Wish I Knew at 18 What I Wish I Knew at 18

A Special Message to Faith Leaders

It almost goes without saying that today’s faith leaders are challenged like never before.  With a culture that is increasingly permissive, a family unit that is under siege, and an economy that is clearly underperforming, our nation’s congregations are facing enormous struggles in their daily lives.  The pain is deep and widespread and the issues are complicated.  Our spiritual leaders are working tirelessly to provide hope, encouragement, and direction to the many who are seeking their guidance.


With that said, I believe there’s a growing opportunity for our religious and educational leaders to provide more before-the-fact resources to our parents and children.  Recalling the age-old saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” are our institutions doing an effective job in preparing our young adults to live inspired and responsible independent lives?  Similarly, are our parents being equipped with the necessary skills and wisdom before they have children? 


I would submit that the answer to these questions is “No,” and that we are in the midst of a vicious cycle that is becoming pernicious, especially with respect to broken families and out-of-wedlock births.  To counter this seemingly insurmountable struggle, we need to better prepare children and prospective parents in ways that are effective, positive, responsible, and right.  This involves coaching in what works and what doesn’t and what really ought to matter in life.  It means reaching young adults and parents before the fact.  Given time, we can reverse this cycle.


I wrote What I Wish I Knew at 18: Life Lessons for the Road Ahead because I believe that our children are unintended victims of a growing life skills gap.  Key life essentials aren’t being taught because of the challenges associated with single parenting and broken families and because parents and educators assume the other is covering that “territory.”  The result is that many ingredients to a healthy and fulfilling life are falling through the cracks, and our children aren’t being adequately prepared for independent life.  This book is my attempt to help change that by describing timeless life success principles as they set forth on their journey.


Written as a conversation with 18-year olds, but just as relevant for adults, the book is a compendium of life success principles for graduates as they ready for independent life.  Described as a “Cliff notes to a successful life,” it covers an array of subjects such as life purpose, character, relationships and communication, handling adversity, spiritual life, personal productivity, college academics, career selection and advancement, love and marriage, and managing finances.  Whether from illustrations or instruction, readers will have a solid understanding of what it takes to build a successful life before the fact.


Herein lies a compelling opportunity for our religious institutions.  Through focused ministries directed at teens, young adults, and prospective and current parents, more people could be given the proper resources, wisdom, and direction before the fact.  Young adults could learn practical, Godly wisdom for independent life and parents would learn what it means to fully prepare their children by the time they leave the nest.  By doing so, our religious institutions can help fill the life skills gap with excellent, Godly preparation of young adults and parents for servanthood and stewardship. 


It is my hope and prayer that What I Wish I Knew at 18: Life Lessons for the Road Ahead will be a worthy resource to help in your efforts to inspire, guide, and transform lives.   Whether for curricular use in your ministries or as a graduation gift for young adults who are readying to face new challenges on their own, this book could serve you and your organization in a number of ways.


Finally, in order to have maximum reach and impact, I wrote this book in a manner that it could be used in public schools as a life skills text.  While that influenced my writing to some extent, a Biblical worldview is certainly evident in the success principles discussed in the book.  In the near future, a leader’s guide and student guide will be offered as collateral resources to help facilitate young adult and parenting courses.


Blessings on you and your ministries!
Dennis Trittin

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