Setting a Course for Your Student’s Future: Interests, Aptitudes, and Spiritual Gifts

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Thank you for attending the free High School Toolbox from Home Educators Association of Virginia.

I hope you learned a lot about how to set a course for your student’s future by considering all of his or her aptitudes, interests, and spiritual gifts.

The purpose of high school is to help you prepare your student for adulthood—not necessarily college! Yes, you want to help him or her get ready to earn money and get a job as needed, but you also want to think about necessary life skills and character qualities. You also want to consider the calling God might give them for marriage, parenting, owning a home, and all the other goals and dreams God has put on their heart.

Oftentimes we parents don’t feel equipped for such big decisions! This is even more difficult when we don’t share the same aptitudes, interests, and spiritual gifts that our children have.

However, preparing our children for their future is extremely important as it affects:

  • What classes they take in high school
  • The relationships they build with others
  • The way they spend their time in high school
  • The course of their entire lives!

Here are some resources that we recommend.


Aptitudes are career skills that students are capable of doing or could be if they could learn more in that field. Aptitudes deal with future potential.

Middle-School or Early High-School students may wish to take a simple career inventory test:

Discover What You’re Best At, by Linda Gale (Amazon affiliate link)

  • This book focuses on helping your student determine his or her career.
  • The book provides a 2-3 hour test in business, clerical, logic, mechanical, numerical, and social skills.
  • Complete information is provided so that you can score the test at home.
  • Test results match with over 1100 career possibilities.

Durable Trades, by Rory Groves (Amazon affiliate link)

  • This book presents over 60 trades that are useful in any culture or time period—and are especially needed today.
  • Complete descriptions are provided for each trade, as well as additional resources students can use to learn more information.


Interests are personality-driven likes and dislikes that often steer how aptitudes are expressed. Interests can change and deal with the present.

Middle-School or Early High-School students may wish to take a simple career interest survey:

Spirit-Controlled Temperament, by Tim LaHaye (Amazon affiliate link)

  • This book is a Christian classic that looks at 4 personality types.
  • The author shows both the positive and negative aspects of each personality type, examining the work the Spirit of God can do in a person who is dedicated to Him. or

  • These websites provide (free or at a cost) a test to help a student determine his or her Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality.
  • MBTI is useful to help a person understand his or her own interests, as well as how to interact better with other people by understanding why they might think the way they do.

Spiritual Gifts

Spiritual gifts are things that only God can do, by the power of the Holy Spirit in a life dedicated completely to Him. However, spiritual gifts usually operate in areas in which we have already shown a spirit of diligence and excellence. Examples would include Joseph, Moses, Daniel, and Bezalel:

“And Moses said to the children of Israel, ‘See, the Lord has called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; and He has filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom and understanding, in knowledge and all manner of workmanship, to design artistic works, to work in gold and silver and bronze, in cutting jewels for setting, in carving wood, and to work in all manner of artistic workmanship. And He has put in his heart the ability to teach, in him and Aholiab the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. He has filled them with skill to do all manner of work of the engraver and the designer and the tapestry maker, in blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine linen, and of the weaver—those who do every work and those who design artistic works'” (Exodus 35:30-35, NKJV).

  • 1 Corinthians 12 is a good chapter to read and discuss together.
  • Character qualities such as humility, dependability, initiative, and so on are needed. Encourage your student to read one chapter every day from the book of Proverbs, all through high school. (For example, on January 2, read Proverbs 2, etc.)
  • Teamwork is a good place to develop spiritual gifts, since the purpose of spiritual gifts is to edify the Body of believers. Consider how you can help your student become involved in his or her local church or volunteer for local service projects.


  • This website provides (free) a test to help a student develop his SHAPE (spiritual gifts, heart, abilities, personality, and experiences).

Action Steps

  1. Pray daily and journal any insights God gives you.
  2. Over the high-school years, assign your student to read the entire Bible, to help him form a Biblical worldview and priorities for his life.
  3. Test to discover aptitudes, interests, and spiritual gifts.
  4. Research to learn more about the possibilities you discover.
  5. Expand your circle by meeting people with similar aptitudes, interests, and spiritual gifts. Work to find godly mentors for your student.

Setting a Course for Your Student's Future: Aptitudes, Interests, and Spiritual Gifts

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