230) What Do You Want For Your Children?

By Tony Campolo, Let Me Tell You a Story, page 88, © 2000

     A study done on mothers around the world asked the question, “What do you want your children to be when they grow up?”  Mothers in Japan almost always answered, “We want our children to be successful.”  The result is that the people of Japan have raised up a generation of the most success-driven children in the history of the world.  They work harder and longer than any other people at any task assigned to them.  They can be expected to excel in any activity they undertake.  The way in which Japan recovered after World War II was largely due to the success orientation that was drilled into the children by their parents.

     When American mothers were asked exactly the same question, you can imagine what the answer was:  “We want our children to be happy!”  HAPPY?!?!?!

     You’ve got to understand, I was raised in an old-fashioned Italian family.  I don’t think my father really cared whether I was happy.  Oh, I suppose it was of concern to him, and I’m sure that he also wanted me to be successful.  But if you had asked my father, and especially my mother, “What do you want your son to be when he grows up?” both would have answered, “We want him to be good.”

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Proverbs 22:6  —  Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

Ephesians 6:4  —  Fathers, do not exasperate your children;  instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Deuteronomy 11:18-19  —  Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds;  tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Philippians 4:6-9  —  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable;  if anything is excellent or praise-worthy;  think about such things.  Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me– put it into practice.  And the God of peace will be with you. 

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A PRAYER FOR THE FAMILY by Walter Rauschenbusch (1861-1918) ( God’s Minute, 1916, alt.):
Our Father, we thank you for binding this family together by the sacred tie of common blood.  We remember with how much sacrificial love its life has been created and sustained.  We thank you for a mother’s travail and tenderness, for a father’s faithful toil.  Knit us together by our common joys and sorrows, so that even if we are far removed from one another, nothing may estrange our hearts.  When the youngest of us is old and gray-headed, may the memories of our home still be sweet and dear.  May the children’s children of this family still have the vigor and virtues of our best forefathers, and may the faith, too, of our fathers and mothers burn brightly in their hearts.  Deal graciously with our loved ones.  Give us our daily bread and strength for our daily tasks.  To you we commit the life and destiny of each; through Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.