True Greatness  

Posted by Cyndi Lou in , ,

"True greatness is a passionate love for God that demonstrates itself in an unquenchable love and concern for others."

What is your definition of success? Is it having beauty, wealth, and fame? Is it being a stellar athlete, a successful businessman or businesswoman, or having a large home? What is your definition of success for you, for your children? Do you want them to get a good education, go to college, have a great career, marry someone who is handsome or beautiful, buy a nice-sized home, and then have beautiful grandchildren for you to admire and love? Is that REALLY all there is during our short time on this earth?

Before you navigate away from my blog and this post, don't get me wrong, those are all wonderful, admirable goals, and to be honest, those are some of the goals we have for our children and you probably have for yours. There is nothing inherently wrong with these things. But, I have been challenged to dig deeper, to look for more out of life than the 'American Dream' and to GIVE MORE back to life, to this earth that is our temporary home.

I am reading a fascinating book that questions our society's 'norm'. This book questions the definition of success for us, our children, and our families. The name of the book is Raising Kids for True Greatness: Redefine Success for You and Your Child by author & speaker, Tim Kimmel. I am only on the 2nd chapter of the book, so beware, I have not finished it, so my review may be a bit premature. But, it HAS started me thinking, what are we teaching our children and what is our own definition of success?

Again, please understand where I am coming from. we want many of those things for our children... successful in school endeavors, going to college, marrying a Godly mate, if that is God's plan for them, and having a joy-filled life. But, are we aiming too low if those are our only standards? Also, for those of you who know me best (and for Anna Grace & Austin's teachers out there), I am STILL going to push them in school to do their best! I am not quite giving up on Harvard just yet! ;)

But, this book is challenging me to teach my children what true greatness is, not in mine & Joe's words to them, but in our every day actions and in our service of time, energy, and efforts. In the introduction, Dr. Kimmel tells the story of how a lady named Agnes became known to the world as Mother Teresa, largely due to the influence her mother and father placed on teaching her about true greatness and not about mere success. Let me wrap up my 'thoughts' with a few excerpts from the book, which are questions the author asks after sharing the story of Mother Teresa...

  • Why do we dream such small dreams and expect so little from our children?
  • Why do we assume that we have such limited capabilities as parents?
  • Why do we assume that great peolpe have to be the exception rather than the rule when it comes to our efforts as parents?
  • Why don't we think that our children can ever take rank among the truly great?
  • Worse, why do we sell God's bigger plan for our lives so short?

I have the passage below posted in my office and I am going to post it in our home as well. It defines greatness by an entirely different set of standards:

  • Success looks inward; true greatness looks upward, then outward.
  • Success is about my agenda; true greatness is about God’s agenda.
  • Success accommodates selfishness; true greatness celebrates altruism.
  • Success is about receiving; true greatness is about giving.
  • Success worships what it sees in a mirror; true greatness grieves over what it sees through its windows.
  • Success pays off for now; true greatness pays off forever.

I know that teaching our children to strive for true greatness and to live passionately is a goal that Joe and I have. I don't know the future or what the Lord has in store for our family, but I would like to think that I can look back 20 years from now and see that we taught our children about true greatness and passionate living! We hope that we can instill in them a passion for loving the Lord and giving back to others. What will you look back on and see in 20 years? For those of you who know me well, you know that I believe, inherently, that we are all AWESOME and destined for GREAT things!

This entry was posted on September 8, 2008 at Monday, September 08, 2008 and is filed under , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


Thanks for putting things into perspective with your words. I pray that our children grow into truly great people, filled with the peace and love of an awesome God. And I pray that He continues to guide us as parents to teach them and encourage them in accordance with His will.

I miss you three very much. Kiss the kids for me. I'll see you Thursday night when I get home.

Mon Sep 08, 10:42:00 PM 2008

I started that book awhile back...I think I need to pull it back out. Some good things to think about.

Tue Sep 09, 09:49:00 AM 2008

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