The Success Illusion: Part I

I talk with a lot of parents and often I ask what they want most for their children.  The most common answer I here is Success.  I then ask the parents to define success and what I normally here is a good education, a good job and some financial abundance leading to less struggle then the parents had to deal with. 

I also believe that actions speak louder than words and when I listen to parents talk and see what they most support and try to develop within their children, it usually falls into the categories of academics, sports, or the arts.

"Johnny is reading already at age 3."
"Katie got accepted to the accelerated science program."
"Matthew made the Varsity Traveling Football Team, he's got Pro potential."
"Sarah is competing for a scholarship in (fill in the blank)"

Yet the areas that we as parents push so hard in pursuit of this definition of success, do not lead to the success that we want for our children.

Note:  I do not believe that wealth is an accurate measure of a persons success but just go along and humor me for a bit until I explain this whole illusion. 

In Dr. Thomas Stanley's book "The Millionaire Mind", Stanley surveys the households of America's wealthiest families to determine the traits and habits of financially successful people (Millionaires).  He also singles out true financially successful people not those who buy big homes, lease expensive cars and try to "look wealthy."

When you ask people what it takes to become financially successful most often you hear.

Graduate from an Ivy League School
Graduate in the top percentile of your college
Get a top paying job with a Fortune 500 Company
Expertise in the stock market
Become a Professional Athlete

All of these are false, yet many of us believe in this "Success Illusion" and push our children to succeed in these areas.

According to Stanley's research the traits most mentioned by millionaires that lead them to success are:

1. Honesty - Integrity - Character
2. Discipline - Persistence - Long Term Thinking
3. Social Skills - Relationships - Focusing on the needs of others
4. Courage - Tenacity
5. A Healthy Marriage and Supportive Spouse

Also mentioned was their strong religious faith.


Doesn't it strike you as crazy that the areas that most parents push their kids to excel in will never lead to the definition of success their parents are striving for?

During the course of this week we are going to examine how raising your kids and focusing your efforts on developing areas of biblical morals and values will actually  fair better equip them for the "Success" that parents so often wish for. 

Furthermore, establishing Character, Courage, Caring for Others, Discipline and a Strong Marital/Relationship Foundation will lead to a far greater definition of success than worldly wealth.  It will lead them to greatness in the eyes of the Lord. 

As author Tim Kimmel says in Raising Kids for True Greatness, if you shoot for greatness, you get success thrown in as a bonus. 

We will take a closer look at the areas we should be stressing and developing in our children to achieve Heavenly and Worldly Success and debunk the "Success Illusion" that many parents today follow and raise their kids in.

The Success Illusion Part II