Are Parents Truly Ambitious for Their Children’s Future?

SYLVIA MCCRORY       JULY 2020

Some people would say parents are over-ambitious for their children today.  These people would no doubt point out the intense competition among parents for their children to have top scores, be enrolled in top classes, go to the top schools, and receive top recognition. Almost all of us know these parents. They have mapped out their children’s lives from pre-school through college. These parents push their children, push their teachers, push their coaches, push their tutors, they push, push, push. Only the top and the best is acceptable.

While I appreciate their love for their children and their strong work ethic, I have two concerns. First, I am concerned about the amount of strain that is put on children and the family with the stress to always be number one. Childhood should be a fun time, a time filled with happy memories and carefree days.  It should be a time of exploring and discovering the world, and the many beauties of God’s creations. My second concern is much bigger. It is the question of “why”.  Why is it so important to have children that are number one at everything? 

It remains a mystery to me that very few of these parents take the time to dissect the reason behind their own motivations. Perhaps some will say they want their children to “have it easier than they have”, or some say they want their children to have the advantages to be able to realize all their dreams.  To all of these, I still have to ask, “why”, “to what end”? 

Do we want our children to spend most of their lives preparing for careers, which may or may not be satisfying? Are we raising children so driven that they will sacrifice their own family time, sacrifice time with their children? Do we want our children to put success and the rewards it brings above everything?  These are things I strongly encourage all parents to ponder, to weigh in their hearts.  Are parents being driven by what they see and read from peers and educational institutions? Please do not let the parenting style of others affect yours.

Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless.            Ecclesiastes 5:10 (NIV

Tim Kimmel, in his book Raising Kids for True Greatness, puts it this way, “God wants our children to grow up to live adult lives that are far more than just seeing how much money they can make and how well known they can become.  He wants them to make a profound difference eternally”. 

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.  I Timothy 6:10 (NIV

What should loving parents be doing to raise children with a strong sense of work ethic, high moral values, and a love for the Lord?

Change your target

As Christian parents, we need to keep our focus on the heavenly rewards God has in store for our children.  We are limiting our children when we have a limited, specific plan for them. God has plans for them.  His plans are much more than anything we could ever imagine. Each of us has been given our own gifts from God. God loves our children more than we do.  He wants our children to be training for the work He has in store for them. 

Give the control to God

This is EXTREMELY hard for most of us. It scares us to the very core.  We want to control as much of the world surrounding our children as possible.  We want to protect them. We know what we can do, but what if we turn the control over to God?  What is our biggest fear? Are we afraid God will have different plans for our children than our plans?  Most likely the answer is “Yes”. If we are honest, we are afraid God will take our children on a journey we do not like. 

Train children to live in the Royal Family

If our children were part British Royalty, their days would be filled with learning about the Royal family, what is acceptable and unacceptable. Children would be trained about the queen, about her history and her likes and dislikes. So, why shouldn’t Christian parents be raising their children for the Kingdom of God, instead of the pitfalls of this world? Should we fill the days of our children training them for the only kingdom that matters?  The glorious kingdom of God.

And I saw that all labor and all achievement spring from man’s envy of his neighbor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.                     

 Ecclesiastes 4:4 (NIV)

 In Tim Kimmel’s book, Raising Kids for True Greatness, he states, “What are these children living their lives for? What are you aiming them at? Regardless of who they are or what they do, if your children commit to living for God and for others, they will be assured a place in God’s Hall of Greatness.”



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