How to Take Socrates’ Advice

I spent the better part of last Saturday hanging out with teenagers. 

[Read: Often, being with teenagers makes me grateful for my current place in life. There aren’t many things for which I would return to high school.]

We were in Canton, Michigan at Regional Teens Involved. If you’re not familiar with T.I. (I wasn’t until about three months ago), let me describe it to you:

Students spend the months preceding T.I. developing and preparing a particular skill/s to perform before a panel of judges. It could be singing, playing an instrument, writing, graphic design…you get the picture. Students pick a category, prepare, present, and receive feedback to help them develop their skills.

[Teens Involved is part of Word Of Life student programs. Word Of Life Bible Institute, based in Schroon Lake, New York, is a one- or two-year post-high school educational institution that focuses on Bible study. Learn more here.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to spend a lot of time hanging out with my students since I was involved in the event judging, but I did get to watch some of them perform. I know some extremely gifted students! 

The whole idea of Teens Involved is to get students to explore their God-given talents and abilities. From here, they can develop those skills into careers and ministry tools. It’s all about discovery.

The ancient greek philosopher, Socrates, believed this kind of thing was important: “Know thyself,” he said. 

Many people call this “finding yourself.” Personally, I don’t like that phrase, because it implies that you are somehow lost. I know exactly where I am, but I’m discovering some pretty cool things about myself (okay, and maybe some not-so-cool things). 

I’m discovering that I love teaching—that’s new! I’m also finding out that I’m less of a morning person than I originally thought I was. (Which means I’m really, really not a morning person!) And that I never made it in sports because I’m just not competitive enough—at least in sports. Academics, well that’s a different story…something else I’ve learned!

Discovering things about yourself is essential to success in your career, your relationships, and your dreams. Start learning more about yourself by asking some questions…

—What are your pet peeves?
—What are you good at?
—What are you not good at? 
—What do you love more than anything else in the world?

Ask yourself as many questions as you want. Observe your natural responses to everyday situations. Ask a close, trusted friend to help you.

A good resource and helpful tool for self-discovery is a book called Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath. Learn more about it here.

The students with whom I spent the weekend are well on their way to knowing themselves. Are you?

Know thyself.

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