The years between 10 and 25 are the most important years in determining the secular success of most individuals.
This is not to suggest that subsequent years are not important – they are. But the foundation that one lays during the 15 formative years will greatly influence one’s ability to achieve higher rungs on the ladder of secular success.
The kid who does not study, go to a top-notch high school, acquire a great college education, take courses with high economic value, and psychological courses explaining secular human needs for Growth, Achievement, Recognition, Responsibility, Participation, and Interesting Work – may always be an underachiever.
The kid who spend his formative 15-years partying, trying to be popular, drinking, taking drugs, participating in illicit sex, over committing to sports and games, and living off of his parent’s wealth or the dole of the government, will always underachieve relative to his/her early potential.
Many of these truths are not self-evident and should be introduced not only during a child’s formative years but, also, from a child’s earliest years of comprehension. Praise study. Praise school work. Praise good behavior. Praise the completion of chores.
It is, of course, never too late to get started. If one failed to use their formative years to best advantage, he/she can take immediate action to correct that deficiency. But it won’t be as easy or as productive as getting an early start.
And no amount of government handouts can make up for the opportunities lost by early, poor choices. In fact some claim government handouts adversely affect an individual’s future possibilities.
Someone once said: At 20 years old we wonder what everybody thinks about us. And at 40 years old we don’t care what anybody thinks about us. Then, at 60, we realize nobody was thinking about us.
So make sure you get the message – and make sure your children and grandchildren get the message. Time is money. Squandering time particularly during one’s formative years is a tragedy for the individual, their family and their community.
One more thing: In this article I’ve written about secular success. It is, of course, always subservient to spiritual success, which is even more important in the fullness of eternity. But I believe, most can have both – that God wants each and every one of us to achieve our destiny, to achieve our full potential, to make maximum contributions to our family, friends, church, business, and community.
Sometimes our spiritual leaders fail to emphasize God’s desire to help us achieve our destiny. That’s most unfortunate because we’re not always smart enough to remember all that we know, and it’s well to be reminded.