Tips for Teens

 Things I Wish I’d Known In High School 

by Erin Davis edited and revised by Grammy (Judy Flatt) 

  • God’s promises are true
  • Normal is a mirage. Embrace your weirdness.
  • He really does have a hope and a future for me (Jer 29:11)

Insecurity is a massive waste of time and energy. Be confident in God’s love.

  • “Only one life, ‘twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.” That’ll preach.
  • Start saving money now. I wish I had developed the discipline of saving money as a high school student. While we are on the subject of money . . . .
  • Your parents don’t need to be your friends right now. They need to be your parents, and that means they make and enforce the rules. The good news is they will likely be your friends someday. Right now God has given them the job of being in charge. Do everything you can to make their job easier.
  • Start tithing. The Bible calls all believers to tithe regardless of income. So if you have an allowance, a part-time job, or other earned money, you have an income. Everything you make belongs to God, but there are tremendous blessings to be found in giving a portion of it back to Him.
  • Marrying a girl who loves Jesus really, really matters.

The world doesn’t revolve around me. That’s a good thing.

  • Being the handsomest or most popular guy in school matters for about half a second after graduation. Being the kindest guy in school gets remembered well past your ten-year reunion.

Champion others as often as possible, especially your siblings. Instead of wanting everyone to cheer you on, figure out ways to cheer them on.

  • You truly reap what you sow. Do you want to know your Bible forward and backward later? Study it like crazy now. Do you want to be more like Christ someday? Be more like Him today.

Find something you are good at and enjoy it, but don’t make it your whole life. Basketball, or any sport or activity you love, is supposed to be fun, not stressful.

  • “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” (Prov. 16:9) You can have a ten-year plan, but there’s nearly a 100% chance God will interrupt it.
  • It’s okay to miss practice for church. In fact, church trumps activities every single time.


  • You don’t need a bunch of friends. You need one or two who’ve got your back.
  • You can do big things for the kingdom now. Don’t wait to get involved in ministry.
  • Worry less about having the right friends, and worry more about being the right friend.
  • Your siblings are cooler than you think. When you are an adult, they’ll be the people you want to grab coffee with.
  • Be picky about your friends. The Bible says, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”
  • (Prov. 13:20)

When you do something stupid to impress someone, it’s still doing something stupid. Do the smart thing instead.

  • I know that girl gives you butterflies, but that won’t carry you through the ups and downs of life. Find someone who loves Jesus (see above), but also someone who is fun to talk to and knows how to cope when the going gets tough. Then when you least expect it, the butterflies will start to flutter once again, and they won’t stop once you have married the love of your life.
  • When you get your license, it’s a license to drive, not a license to do stupid things. Within a few weeks of getting her license, the author of this list got caught racing on the highway and wrapped her car around a telephone pole. She drove dumb so you don’t have to.
  • Don’t be afraid to fail. Stand up in class and give that speech. Try out for the lead role in the play. You may fall on your face. You may not. But at least you went for it.
  • I’ve never met an adult who is glad they partied in high school. Ever. I’ve met lots of them who regretted it. There is no long-term benefit from that scene.
  • Don’t think of your cell phone as your best friend. It can become your worst enemy by robbing you of precious time, and meaningful relationships. Master its use. Don’t let it master you.

Broken hearts heal. It seems like an unendurable pain, but those deep chasms will heal over time.

  • Sometimes it seems cool to love Jesus and not the Church, but Jesus loves the Church. The Church is His bride.
  • Nothing good happens after curfew. Go home!
  • The college major or career I pick doesn’t define me. I am not my work. I am a child of God.
  • “Whatever then you do . . . do all to the glory of God.” (I Cor. 10:31.)