The Later Years text
“Courage takes confidence. The confidence to try or try again, coupled with trusting God, will lead them on a path to living a life of courage.”
Connie Albers

Winston Churchill said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could will our teens to have more courage or if we could give them a “courage pill” so that they would try new ideas without being afraid of failing? That isn’t how it works. It would be nice if we could fill our children with courage that easily—but we can’t.

Having courage requires a far deeper work if you want your child to live without the nagging voice in their head that says, “you can’t,” or “you shouldn’t,” or “you will fail.” Courage takes confidence. The confidence to try or try again, coupled with trusting God, will lead them on a path to living a life of courage. Unfortunately, both might be missing in your young adolescents.

What does it take to instill more confidence so our teens will have the courage they need to try? We must guide them through a process of identifying what is happening and discovering the hindrances causing them to stumble. In other words, we must teach them to be aware of how they have made decisions in the past, process the decisions that didn’t work out, and find a way to help them gain the confidence they need for the future.

This process takes place in three areas of their lives—their understanding of themselves, their relationship with others, and their connection with God. Learning to have confidence isn’t a simple three-step process, but these are areas you need to help them develop and grow in if your teens are going to enter adult life with confidence.

Discern the Challenge

When I was younger, my mom would tell me I was fearless. My lack of fear resulted in a high degree of courage. Why? Because I wasn’t afraid to try. It didn’t matter what my interest. I tried and failed so much throughout middle and high school that I came to believe that was normal. You try out for something, you make it or you don’t, and you move on to the next thing. My attitude was “you win some; you lose some.”

It wasn’t until I started having children that I learned most children aren’t fearless or courageous. Though I didn’t struggle with these feelings, it didn’t mean my children wouldn’t. I’ve learned that many people are fearful because of their concern for getting stuck, therefore, they never develop a courageous spirit.

Most teens wrestle with feelings of doubt, anxiety, and worry, which can lead to a lack of confidence. They usually have a negative internal dialogue and rarely share those thoughts with others. Through careful observation, you will be able to identify unique struggles occurring within them and help them learn how to navigate such emotions.

When my children entered the teen years, I saw a lack of courage creep in that I hadn’t seen before. It concerned me. One of our parenting goals was to instill biblical courage in them. But how? I asked others what they thought courage was and received several responses, ranging from stepping out in faith believing that things will all work out to realizing the moment is bigger than you; therefore, you decide to rise to the occasion. Whatever your definition of courage is, it shouldn’t surprise you to know God has a lot to say about the topic.

In Numbers 13-15, we see how God told Moses what to do before sending the Israelites into Canaan. Moses did as instructed because of this faith in God. We also know that doing some work on the front end helps our children have more courage to obey as Moses did.

So I taught some of the principles in those chapters to help my children become more discerning:

  • Decide on the objective
  • Determine the size of the challenge
  • Gather the facts
  • Choose people who are trustworthy to help you
  • Consider the strengths and weaknesses of the decision
  • Create a realistic plan
  • Make a report
  • Avoid being misinformed
  • Fervently pray
  • Take action
“We must teach them to be aware of how they have made decisions in the past, process the decisions that didn’t work out, and find a way to help them gain the confidence they need for the future.”

Most teens become afraid when they don’t take the time to analyze the process or consider the outcome. By teaching them to be discerning, their confidence and their willingness to take bold action increases. I would recommend you remind your children to be careful who they let speak in their ear. Take the time to study those chapters with your children, and discuss how Moses faced the challenges before him. Your children can learn valuable insights about courage when you point out how others have lived.

Face the Challenge

I can’t do it! Isn’t that what many children say when faced with uncertainty? Helping your children gain courage by facing the challenge in front of them takes intentionality. Begin by talking about what could go right if they tried first. Teens can easily tell you all the reasons they could fail, but learning to look at the benefits of trying helps them learn how to overcome their fear, trust God’s leading, and pay attention to the possibilities. “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Tim. 1:7 NKJV).

You get the opportunity to demonstrate this principle as you face challenges with confident courage. Your children are closely watching the way you live. Do they witness you being an overcomer or living in fear? Show them how to step out with courage by learning to overcome challenges.

Overcome the Challenge

Your children must learn that courage will cost them something. They’ll have to shed the fear and embrace the calling before them. The realization that God is leading them must be enough. He is our provision, not what others think or say. Seeking counsel is essential, but the bottom line is that they listen to what the Lord is instructing them to do after they have sought advice from you and others. He is their provider. If He has called them, He will equip them.

“For you equipped me with strength for the battle; you made those who rise against me sink under me”
–Psalms 18:39, ESV

Being prepared is only part of gaining courage; they must also be alert to danger. Untrustworthy people whispering in their ear can be a hindrance to living a courageous life. It can also cause them to second guess their decision. Teach them to guard who is allowed to speak into their heart by being discerning.

Person enjoying the sunrise
Hindrances to Courage?

While your children may have discerned the challenge, faced, and even overcome it, there are still hindrances to living a courageous life. The four most common obstacles are pride, ego, rejection, and mocking. These can be stumbling blocks for all of us, but for the teen who is trying to navigate the difficult teen years, they can be especially problematic.

Pride or ego can cause overconfidence, which leads to making rash decisions that lack wisdom. Both pride and ego are character issues that must be identified so your teen can relinquish them to the Lord.

On the other hand, accepting the fact that others might reject or mock them is critical to living courageously. Like Winston Churchill said, “…It is the courage to continue that counts.” No matter what we do in life, there will be others who will reject our ideas or marginalize us for them. Our children must learn how to tune others out so they can embrace the courage God has given them to try.

Children have to work through several emotions before they can be brave enough to try, especially with the risk of failure being present. As they learn, we must remind our teens of the truths found in Scripture. Their courage comes from the Lord, not because we are fearless, but because He equips us. Within every situation in which you find yourself, do not dwell on things that lead to sin. Instead, discipline your mind to think on things that please the Lord (Philippians 4:8; Colossians 3:2).

The more they learn to trust in the sovereignty of a loving God, the more their courage will grow and the less their fear will govern the decision making process.


onnie Albers is a mother of five and veteran homeschool mom who has used her public relations background to help shape the homeschooling movement for twenty-seven years. She has spent much of her adult life as a homeschool mom and mompreneur with an outreach and ministry to parents through her speaking, writing, and various leadership roles. More recently Connie’s newest book, Parenting Beyond the Rules, by NavPress outlines positive approaches to parenting today’s teenagers. Her enthusiasm for helping others navigate social media led to her taking a post at Social Media Marketing World. Connie’s mission is to equip moms to live their life with confidence and joy.

Connie and her husband, Tom, have been married thirty-four years and have homeschooled their five children, all of whom continued their studies and graduated from the University of Central Florida, from the beginning.