What will the next step be? College? A job? Technical training? A gap year? Missionary work? Military service? Marriage and a family? Every parent who has raised a teenager to this threshold is concerned that the child will be able to handle the challenges and adversity that are sure to come.

When Dennis Trittin was going through the logistics of setting his son up for college, he realized how many things his son would need to know – things he hadn’t told him. In a little bit of a panic, he made a long list of the practical tips and wisdom he felt his son needed at this stage. Ultimately, this list became the basis for his book, What I Wish I Knew at 18 (2011).

Much of the advice and principles he explains are about pursuing a meaningful life:

  • Discover your purpose and inspiration
  • Direct your life towards others
  • Live a life with few regrets
  • Don’t allow work to consume your life
  • Take risks

The book also contains wisdom related to character, relationships, adversity, spirituality, academics, careers, family, and finances. These are the admonitions of someone who has been there and learned what matters the hard way. As a financial analyst, he enjoyed a highly successful 28-year career, after which he founded LifeSmart Publishing to help young people become successful adults.

To help young people apply the principles explained in the book, Trittin and his colleague, Arlyn Lawrence, created a substantial Student Guide workbook with the same title.

In addition, the two have authored Parenting for the Launch (2013), a book for parents of teens to help them guide the young adult who is focused on the next step.

In short, what we have here is a system of resources that can help a family bridge the gap between high school and the next step. In my experience, few parents have the confidence to discuss all the essential topics, and so the wisdom is never passed on. If you have a child who is a junior or senior in high school and you’re interested in doing more than “hoping for the best,” I recommend that you consider these resources.

Also, helping your child develop vital thinking skills is a key way to prepare them for leaving the nest. My new book: How Your Teen Can Grow a Smarter Brain.

More about the book…

You can grow the bond with your child through better listening. Download the FREE ebook, Listening to Understand.