Parents for A Great Generation

Over the past couple of months, I have been listening to the Teaching Company's American Identity. It has been excellent. The professor giving lectures is from the UK (not University of KY-but Great Britain for my wildcat-centric friends), but currently teaches at Emory University. You can tell that he loves America and because of his background he has a unique perspective. In fact he often points out characteristics of America with Europe with the statement: "This is unique to America, they don't do this in Europe."

Each lecture is a short biography on an American that has been instrumental in the defining the nation. These are not the usual suspects but people that have shaped the character and course of this nation.

In listening, I have gained a new respect for the men and women at the end of the 19th century during post Civil war America. These are people that I have known little about but they truly are amazing individuals.

What is interesting about the people is that they share a very similar trait. They are all the children of abolitionists.

Why would that trait create a generation of Americans who would leave such a large impact of their country and world? I am convinced that the character of their parents made the difference.

  • Their parents uncompromisingly stood for high ideals that were often unpopular and dangerous, even in the North.

  • Because of these ideas and standards, the parents created a network of other like minded and influential people. Their children were exposed to these people who helped shape their character, provide role models, and later create opportunities for them.

  • These parents consistently proclaimed a hopeful vision of the future and what was possible to accomplish.

  • Their beliefs flowed out of intense faith in God and His image that He imparted to man.

As a parent, I want to give my children the best atmosphere for success in this life. What can I do to mimic this previous generation of American parents. Here’s my thoughts:

  • Stand for something! Make my children aware of these beliefs. Integrate them in our life and talk about them around the dinner table.

  • Deepen my faith in God and make my family a little church.

  • Develop relationships with adults that have vision and passion then expose these people to your children.

  • Create hope.

  • Do things that inspire them to dream and believe in the impossible.

Questions: What do you think? What are you doing to inspire your children and form them into the leaders of tomorrow? Please comment below.

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