There are obviously an infinite amount of external factors that help children grow up, but here are the top 40 (in the 12-18 age group) according to the Search Institute. The article not only provides the top building blocks of healthy development, but also gives some practical ways to take action.
I love the action item under "Religious Community" that states, "Encourage your child to talk about his/her interpretations of spiritual or religious concepts, asking questions to clarify concepts, rather than judging what they say." That's what we strive for in our Sunday morning discussion groups here at ZPC - to ask questions that clarify concepts and encourage students to talk about their spiritual interpretations so we, as leaders, can help provide direction towards Jesus.
Discussion questions with MS students: What would you say are some of the strongest building blocks? What are some that could use improvement? Are there any action items you REALLY enjoy? What are some ideas you have to develop some of these?