Building a Daily Pep Talk
I am a big fan of the Kid President. We've been using his Pep Talk with our summer camp staff for years. It's a simple message that we forget so often. It's nice to be reminded of what's important. It's even more important to remind yourself.
CS Lewis talks about building the habit of Faith in Mere Christianity:
Now Faith… is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods. For moods will change, whatever view your reason takes. I know that by experience. Now that I am a Christian I do have moods in which the whole thing looks very improbable: but when I was an atheist I had moods in which Christianity looked terribly probable. This rebellion of your moods against your real self is going to come anyway. That is why Faith is such a necessary virtue: unless you teach your moods ‘where they get off’, you can never be either a sound Christian or even a sound atheist, but just a creature dithering to and fro, with its beliefs really dependent on the weather and the state of its digestion. Consequently, one must train the habit of Faith.
How do you train your faith? Like a muscle, our relationship with God must be attended to often for strength and vitality. When we are young, we don't think about the need work daily at the larger aspects of our lives. Young men's brains, in fact, won't help them in this light. So, we have to help them build daily habits.
On the way to work each morning, Minister Chuck gives himself a daily pep talk. A few simple and powerful reminders get his day going on the right foot. These would do the same for our young guys:
1. This is the day the Lord has made. Rejoice and be glad in it. Yesterday is done, gone forever. Tomorrow is not promised to us. The only thing we have is today and we have to make the most of it. It's either we consciously choose how we approach the day or we react on autopilot, getting into bed that evening and looking back on a wasted day.
2. Love well today. This was one of the two big ones, isn't it? We strive for this and all will be well in Heaven. I think this one is hard for young men to truly grasp. (Middle school boys aren't big on discussing 'love.') It may be easier to think of it as 'do to others as you want done to you.' Do that with siblings, parents, teachers, coaches, friends and rivals, and you'll living as a Christian.
3. Strive to do your best today. We have so many opportunities to slack off, get lost in some internet rabbit hole, or 'mail it in.' Giving anything less than your best efforts is tarnishing the gift of today. Don't worry about today being your best. Every day is different and results vary due to myriads of factors, many of which you cannot control. But, you can always control your attention and effort.
Help your young man develop the daily habits of a Christian. Have him think a bit about scripture, pray, and ask questions. A daily pep talk can help roll all of these into one.