Spiritual direction is defined as “help that is given to another to enable him to become himself in his faith” (Davis, 266). It is an adolescent religious education model that encourages an ongoing relationship between the mentor and adolescent; involving one-on-one meetings where discussion centers on issues which are affecting the adolescent’s life in hopes to see how God may be present and working in them. Spiritual direction addresses the major concerns in each individual adolescent's life. Through this educational model, adolescents wrestle with relevant spiritual questions which may lead him or her to discern presence of God in his or her life (Davis, 268). Because adolescence is a time in which one desires to find a deeper meaning to one’s life, spiritual direction from the Church and parents is both beneficial and necessary. Adolescents develop the capability to reason and question, thus understanding the Truth in a new spiritual way. It is important for spiritual leaders to walk alongside adolescents to direct them towards the Truth. This development stage opens individuals to new capabilities for addressing a spiritual hunger, making it the prime time for conversion (Davis, 270). With spiritual direction from parents and mentors in the Church, adolescents can discover and create individual identities before God.
Spiritual modeling has also influenced adolescents’ religious and spiritual development. Teachers, both in education and the Church, have the opportunity to enhance attributes such as wisdom, good character, and generosity by modeling spirituality (Lerner, 109). Spiritual models are designed to be examples of the positive purpose of goal setting and pursuing. They should seek to demonstrate making positive contributions that are beneficial across people, places, and time. Spiritual models focus on the importance of positively influencing society as a whole. The Five C’s of positive development are important to adolescence and instill positive morals/standards into the adolescents’ developing identity and belief system. The Five C’s of positive development: competence, confidence, positive social connection, caring (or compassion), and character (Lerner, 110). The author R.M. Lerner briefly sums up the importance of encouraging positive development in adolescents:
when the wisdom of youth – the understanding by youth of the fundamental pragmatics of living a good life- occurs in the presence of, in particular, the developmental asset of adult mentors manifesting, through their giving of themselves to young people, transcendence, or spirituality; then youth manifest characteristics of spirituality, positive development, contribution, and lowered level of risk/problem behaviors, attributes that mark the healthy development of young people. (Lerner, 116)
While examining the biblical perspective on the role Church and parents in religious and spiritual development of adolescence, we see the main concern is that religious...