What are my motives?
Look at the following list. Ask yourself, ‘What are the most important reasons why I want to leave home?’
Escape from problems at home
Gain more freedom
Improve my status with my friends
Help out a friend who needs a roommate
Help with volunteer work in another location
Ease the financial burden on my parents
The reasons listed here are not necessarily bad. The question is, What is your motive? For example, if you leave just to escape restrictions, you’re likely in for a shock!
Danielle, who left home for a while when she was 20, learned a lot from the experience. She says: “We all have to live with restrictions of some sort. When you’re on your own, your work schedule or lack of finances will restrict what you can do.” Don’t allow others to rush you into making a decision about moving away from home.—Proverbs 29:20.
Am I prepared?
Moving out on your own is like hiking in a wilderness. Would you trek into wild country without knowing how to set up a tent, light a fire, cook a meal, or read a map? Not likely! Yet, many young ones move away from home with few of the skills necessary to run a household.
Wise King Solomon said that “the shrewd one considers his steps.” (Proverbs 14:15) To help you determine whether you’re prepared to step out on your own, consider the following:
Money management: “I’ve never had to make my own payments on anything,” says Serena, 19. “I’m afraid of leaving home and having to budget my money.” How can you learn to manage money?
A Bible proverb says: “A wise person will listen and take in more instruction.” (Proverbs 1:5) So why not ask your parents how much it’s likely to cost each week for a person to cover the rent or mortgage, buy food, and run a car or pay other transportation costs. Then have your parents help you learn how to budget your money and pay the bills.
Domestic skills: Brian, 17, says that what he fears most about leaving home is having to do his own washing. How do you know if you’re ready to care for yourself? Aron, 20, offers this suggestion: “Try living for a week as if you were on your own. Eat only food that you prepare for yourself, that you buy for yourself at the store, and that you pay for with money you have earned. Wear clothes that you wash and iron. Do all your own housecleaning. And try to get where you need to go by yourself, with no one picking you up or dropping you off.” Following that suggestion will do two things for you: It will (1) give you valuable skills and (2) increase your appreciation for the work your parents do.
Social skills: Do you get along well with your parents and siblings? If not, you might assume that life will be easier when you move in with a friend. But consider what Eve, 18, says: “Two of my friends moved in together. They were best friends before they shared the apartment, but they just couldn’t live with each other. One was neat, the other messy. One was spiritually-minded, the other not so much. It just didn’t work!”
What’s the solution? Erin, 18, says: “You can learn a lot about how to get along with people while living at home. You learn how to solve problems and make compromises. I’ve noticed that those who leave home to avoid disagreements with their parents learn to run away from conflicts, not to resolve them.”
Personal spiritual routine: Some leave home with the specific intention of escaping their parents’ religious routine. Others fully intend to maintain a good personal program of Bible study and worship but soon drift into bad habits. How can you avoid ‘shipwreck of your faith’?—1 Timothy 1:19.
Establish a good personal routine of Bible study and worship, and then stick to it. Why not write your spiritual routine on a calendar and see if you can maintain it for a month without your parents’ having to prod you to do so?
Where am I headed?
Do you want to leave home to get away from problems or to break free from parental authority? If so, your focus is on what you’re leaving, not on where you’re going. That approach is like trying to drive with your eyes fixed on the rearview mirror—you’re so preoccupied with what you’re moving away from that you’re blind to what is ahead. The lesson? Don’t just concentrate on moving away from home—have your eyes fixed on a worthwhile goal.
Whatever your goal may be, think it through. “The plans of the diligent one surely make for advantage,” states a Bible proverb, “but everyone that is hasty surely heads for want.” (Proverbs 21:5) Listen to your parents’ advice. (Proverbs 23:22) Pray about the matter. And consider the Bible principles just discussed.
The real question is not Am I ready to leave home? but Am I ready to manage my own household? If the answer to that latter question is yes, then you may well be ready to strike out on your own.