The Importance of Preparation

“Superior preparation rarely tastes defeat.”

That’s a quote made by the great American sales trainer, Tom Hopkins.  I have always loved that quote.  And since I have become a Christian I have often wondered if there was a biblical equivalent.

As a father, that’s one of the desires that I have for my kids.  I want them to be successful at the truly valuable things in life.  We all realize that we cannot be experts in everything, yet we also recognize that it sure helps to do the important things really well.

When I leave this earth, I am intent on enjoying that peace that comes with knowing that I have loved my children and equipped them to flourish in the purpose that God has for them.

So a few years ago my friend Todd called me up and told me about a new Bible study he’s a part of for fathers and teenage sons.  That immediately got my attention as my oldest son will be going into middle school that year.  Then, as he unfolded the theme of the study, I lit up like a firefly in a dark summer field!

The name of the study is Trailmap for Life.  The theme is recognizing, prioritizing and understanding the crucial topics that our boys will be dealing with in life:

  • Faith
  • Purpose
  • Character
  • Dating/Marriage
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Community
  • Money
  • Health
  • Time Management

When he shared this with me in more detail, I did not even pretend to play it cool.  I was desperate for this study!  My demeanor quickly became, ‘Why are we still talking!?!  Let’s get started!!!’

Parents and teens are desperate for this material!  Filtering these topics through a Christian worldview at this impressionable age is absolutely priceless.  Literally, priceless.

I think the best parallel that will resonate with the mature parent is having a sex talk with your children.  It’s awkward and you don’t want to mess it up.  But let’s think of the alternative: letting them be discipled by Hollywood, Hugh Hefner, Capitol Records, Capitol Hill and the prince of the power of the air himself (Eph 2:2; I Jn 2:15-16).  I just heard a quote from Josh McDowell, who was sponsoring a conference (Set Free Global Summit) dealing with the teen pornography epidemic.  He said, ‘It’s not a matter of if your child is going to see pornography…rather it’s: how have you prepared them to deal with it when they do see it?’

The mindset to fabricate this study came from the heart of a man for his own children facing this same dilemma.  He knew what he wanted for his children, but did not find it out there on the menu of children’s discipleship.  It was so important to him to do this that he abandoned his successful career to do this properly.

This was absolutely fascinating to me!

So many times people talk about what’s important to them, but they don’t put their money where their mouth is.

Not this time.

Chad Richard, the creator of this study, had the great benefit of being mentored by Pastor Robert Lewis, author of the book Raising a Modern-Day Knight.  Lewis brings intentionality to this father/son mentoring process, sharing how every son wants to connect with his dad’s heart, hear praise from him and build life-long memories.

I remember as I sat through our schools’ football team helmet ceremony last year, and I took notes on my phone as Coach Hoza belted out concepts from Lewis’s book: “A man…rejects passivity.  He does not stand by idle.  He accepts responsibility.  He leads courageously.  He expects a greater reward.”  Wow!  Not what you typically hear from football coaches.

While Lewis’ book focuses on the milestones (13th birthday; graduation; etc…), Richard takes this a step further and masterfully builds an out-of-the-box experience with practical ways to live our your faith.  Very complimentary to Lewis’ work.  Yes, it’s a Bible study, but it not about a talking head.  It’s biblically informative, experiential, and broken up into interactive pieces that keeps kids’ attention to drill points home.

When Richard read Lewis’ book, his kids were still young and he wanted to start this process sooner.  Chad is one of those crazy CrossFit guys!  He’s not one to sit around waiting.  So after he made his list of what he thought was important, he did what any man of action would do.  Over a 3-month period he went and interviewed over 40 Christian men, who were about 20 years older, who really had their lives together.  Men who had fruit on the tree.

When this process was over, and with an overwhelming consensus, he had peace that these were not only the right topics…but they were prioritized in the right order.  And the confirmation came from the 40 men.  Their sentiment was, ‘I wish I had these when I was younger.’  [Interesting side note…40 is the biblical number for trials.]

As Lewis saw what Chad did, he grew excited for the Christian community.  Not only does he love the content, but he values the technology platform that Chad built, including a mobile app that dials you in when you’re not able to attend because of a schedule conflict.  He especially loves one of the reoccurring interactive elements called “Top 10 Awards”.  This is where each father and son tell each other, thematically, what the other one did since the last study that makes them proud of each other.  This is pure gold!

Richard has also developed a father/daughter, mother/daughter, mother/son, single parent and family version of the program.

While I am called by God to train up my children in the way that they should go, the recognition is clear…training is required.  I have to make choices that will guide and equip them. Many choices, every day.  I just feel blessed that I ran across a solid, practical, biblical template to help me!

Need More Parenting Advice?

We hope you found this article helpful – it is from the Life’s Top 10: “Trailmap for Life” resources designed to help parents successfully navigate life.  This program offers life-skills sessions where parents & their kids participate together- either on your own, or as part of a small or large group.

A Critical Component In Preparing Your Kids For Life:

If you’re a parent or a parent-figure of kids ages 10-20, this is a critical component in preparing your kids for life – options include our:

Each one offers a unique experience with your kids.

As parents, we all want to raise kids who are well-prepared for life on their own.  Kids with solid character who understand how to make wise choices. Choices in core life topics such as friends, dating, money, health, drugs, and how they spend their time.

Unfortunately, each year, millions of kids set out on their own, unprepared for what they’ll face- and that’s when they learn things the hard way- with consequences that can last a lifetime.    It was this critical scenario that led to the development of Trailmap for Life, a non-profit program solely focused on helping people understand & navigate the 10 most important topics in life.   Each of the 10 monthly sessions covers one of life’s 10 critical topics- with powerful videos, a workbook, & life-skills activities that make it fun & easy to participate!   This program offers life-changing insight from leaders & experts across the country…. And it’s forever changing those who experience it.

It’s easy to organize & host a group: Participating with other parents & their kids offers even more benefits – simply select the group option on the website & choose your meeting dates & times…then enter the email addresses of the parents you want to invite.  The website sends out the invites, tracks responses, and then throughout the program sends out automated communications & reminders based on the meeting schedule you set.    All you’ll do to host each session is follow a few short instructions, play the session video, and enjoy the experience with your kids & your friends.  No prep work is required at all!  And since all sessions are available 24/7 online, it’s ok if people can’t make all the group meetings – they can do those sessions anytime…

Whether on your own or as part of a group, this program helps you achieve the relationship that every parent wants with their kids and feel confident that you have prepared them well for life on their own.  We hope that you will join us for the adventure of a lifetime!    

All programs launched in early 2017!  Click here to learn more!


10 Session Life Skills Course - 10 Topics To Get Right:

Click on a Program Below to Learn More or to Register

10 interactive-video sessions that lead parents & kids through life's core topics such as:  money, datingcharacter, friendsfaithpeer pressurefamily, & time management.

Each session includes a 25-minute video that guides you through key principles for each topic, including activities that make it fun & effective.

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