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Aiming for greatness

Aiming for greatnessWhen it comes to raising children, what is your goal?

Like many parents, I don't have a clearly defined goal in my mind.

Also like most parents, I want the best for my children. I want them to get a good education, have a good job and make a nice living. I want them to be successful and happy in life.

What is success?

In our society, success is often defined as having wealth, power, fame and beauty. Be the first, the best, and have the most.

There is nothing wrong with this goal. But is this enough? Is that all I want my children to be and to have?

I know the answer is "No." I know there is more to life than being successful and having wealth, power, fame and beauty.

Though I wasn't very clear what more I wanted for my kids, in 2002, when they were four and two years old, I started taking them to Sunday school after being invited by a church at Woodbury Days.

At least I understood the importance of living a balanced life of mind, body and spirit, and a balanced life of outward success and inward fulfillment.

Recently, I read "Raising Kids for True Greatness" after a friend invited me to a group discussion based on that book by Tim Kimmel. The book helps redefine success in parenting. It also helps clarify what my parenting goal should be.

True greatness, Kimmel writes, is "a passionate love of God that shows itself in an unquenchable love and concern for people. It is based on grace. Its attitudes are humility and gratefulness. Its actions are generosity and a servant attitude."

True greatness is exemplified by love and service for others as opposed to accomplishments for oneself. Successfulness should not be the primary goals we set for our children, we should aim for greatness.

Every child has the potential to make an extraordinary difference in life.

It is the parent's job to aim for greatness and significance and raise our children who will use their talents, their skills and their lives to make a real difference in the world.

I know in many families, we parents put too much emphasis on our kids' academic achievements. We focus on their school report cards, their grades, their scores, or their extra curricular activities while neglecting the aspect of building characters.

We like to compare, compete and control.

We feel good when our kids are doing well. We feel like failures when our kids don't meet our expectations.

When we prepare our kids for success as defined in this world, the focus is on what is in it for me, how can I be the first and the best, and have the most.

This helps create a self-centered attitude in our kids.

People are truly great, attractive and valuable, not because of outward appearance and possessions, but because of inward qualities.

Success as the world sees it is an illusion. It is short-living and does not bring true happiness.

Successful people come and go. But the truly great people touch lives and their impact and legacy last forever.

We all know Mother Teresa. She was not beautiful, wealthy and powerful, and didn't achieve fame by worldly standards.

Yet she was one of the greatest people who have lived on the earth. The legacy she left is way beyond what success can bring. She touched lives and made a difference in the world.

Mother Teresa had the qualities that identify a truly great life: humility, gratefulness, generosity, compassion and a servant attitude.

After I read the book, I have a more clearly-defined goal in raising kids.

It should not just be helping my kids achieve success, but, more importantly, aiming them for greatness.

I need to teach them humility, gratefulness, generosity, compassion and a servant attitude. In addition to providing them with a secure love, I should also help them find their significant purpose in life.

"Raising Kids for True Greatness" not only gives me a better understand of a higher goal in raising kids, it also challenges me to better myself for a simple reason.

Before I can teach my kids the qualities of humility, gratefulness, generosity, compassion and a servant attitude, I have to learn myself first in order to be a role model for them.

So aiming for greatness is not just a goal for my kids, it is a goal for myself as well.