True greatness takes on a life of its own when it is applied to the three biggest challenges our children must face. For the record, there are three primary questions your children need to answer in order to enjoy an effective adult life. If they answer these three questions correctly, they will be able to leave a powerful and lasting legacy for many generations to come:
1. What is my mission in life going to be?
2. Who is my mate going to be?
3. Who is my master going to be?
Put another way: What am I going to do with my life? Who will I spend my life with? Who will I live it for?
Here’s what makes aiming your children at true greatness so compelling: their ability to answer these three questions properly almost becomes a foregone conclusion. When you’re consistently pointing your kids toward greatness, it’s difficult for them to mess up these three profound dimensions of their lives.
Oftentimes we can embed the priorities of true greatness into the DNA of our children’s character without having to formally teach them how to do it. We simply have to show our kids what true greatness looks like with our lives. As parents, we play the greatest role in how our children answer these questions. Either we put them on the freeway to success, or we point them toward the long and winding road that leads to true greatness. There aren’t too many parents willing to take on this challenge. It’s too bad, because raising kids for greatness has more immediate as well as long-term benefits for Mom and Dad than raising them merely for successfulness. Among other things, greatness goals improve the way your children view you, treat you, and blend into the dynamic of your family.
Because the freeway to success is easier to quantify and requires far less from the parents from a faith perspective, many parents prefer to take the shortcut. And let’s face it: success does offer some nice amenities for your kids, if you’re willing to confine their rewards to the narrow options of what earth has to offer. But it’s best to keep in perspective that the greatest rewards that earth has to offer pale in comparison to the minimum that a life of true greatness has to give.
On top of that, it’s hard to send kids down a path you aren’t willing to take yourself. In most cases, this is the main reason parents are satisfied with the mediocrity of success when it comes to their children’s future. However, we should keep in mind that regardless of how rugged the path to greatness may look, our kids would rather we show them the way than merely point them in the general direction.
Where are you aiming your kids?
1. Look at your calendar. How much of your time do you spend nurturing an “others-oriented” attitude in your children?
2. Look at your checkbook. How much of your resources are going to serving others rather than yourselves?
3. Look at your attitude. What makes you feel like you are doing a good job at raising your kids?
4. Look at your heart. What are the things that bring joy and satisfaction to you and to your family?
5. Look at your reputation. How would your friends, coworkers, teachers, and neighbors characterize your priorities?
True greatness is the only legitimate choice when it comes to preparing your kids for their adult lives. If you aim your children at anything less than greatness, you’ll set them up to miss the whole point of their lives. As C. S. Lewis wisely pointed out, “Aim at heaven, and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth, and you get neither.”
Used with permission from the book, Raising Kids for True Greatness by Dr. Tim Kimmel (W Publishing Group).