Navigating the Four Phases of High School

Phase Defined: A time frame in a kid’s life when you can leverage distinctive opportunities to influence their future.

  • The phase that should matter most to you is the phase they are in now.
  • The phase that matters most happens before or after this phase.
  • Adults tend to assume, “They are like me now.”
  • Adults tend to assume, “They are like I used to be.”
  • Every kid at every phase is changing in six ways: physically, mentally, relationally, culturally, emotionally, and morally.
  • The vast majority of research on teens: They aren’t grown up yet.

Your Role: Mobilize Their Potential

Read Their Mind…

So students in the four phases of high school will believe they can win.

  • Know what can be expected of them and know how they think so they will hear what you say and know what to do.
  • BIG IDEA: High schoolers think like a philosophers.
  • High Schoolers want to discover meaning and learn best by processing out loud.

“Children are most like adults in their feelings. They are least like adults in their thinking. More information does not make them think like us.” — Catherine Stonehouse

Discover Their World…

So students in the four phases of high school will feel they belong.

  • Freshmen: Where do I belong? The Goal: Value Community.
  • Sophomores: Why should I believe? The Goal: Clarify Values.
  • Juniors: How can I matter? The Goal: Refine Skills.
  • Seniors: What will I do? The Goal: Create Vision.

DON’T MISS THIS: The buffer in every crisis is love.

Interpret Their Motives…

So students in the four phases of high school will discern what they should do.

  • Moral emotions are instinctive. Moral development is not.
  • If you want to help a high schooler develop a moral conscious, you have to interpret and influence their motive.
  • The ultimate motive is love.
  • High schoolers are motivated most by freedom.

Play To Your Audience…

So students in the four phases of high school will discover how to relate to God.

  • Your job is not to redefine God to high school students. Your job is to help high school students rediscover how to relate to God in a new way in high school.
  • How high schoolers relate to God: God’s story empowers my story.
  • When you mobilize their potential, you help a high schooler keep pursuing authentic faith and discover a personal mission.

Three Ideas to Help High Schoolers Mature in their Relationship with God.

  1. Give an application. Say something they can do this week.
  2. Ask a question. They are going to ask someone hard questions.
  3. Make it an experience. Challenge them to do something that matters.