Strother describes what he discovered when he began to try to train parents in his church to disciple their children:
In the early days of planning, we assumed that pretty much every parent would agree with us when it came to our purpose and expectations for their children’s spiritual development.
We were wrong.
As it turned out, most parents did have a purpose for thier children’s lives, but this purpose was not maturity in Jesus Christ. Their purpose was for their children to be “happy”. And what exactly was necessary for their children to achieve this elusive goal? To enable their children to attain happiness, parents in our community tended to push their children into high-stress combinations of college preparatory classes, extracurricular activities, and specialized sports programs. The parents’ driving assumption was that these expereiences were essential for their children to get into good colleges, which would result in good jobs, which would enable the children to achieve the same high standards of material living as their paretns, which would in turn make thier children–you guessed it, happy.
What these parents did not know is that these same students walked into our offices or met us at coffee shops to tell us, “My parents are rich, important, successful–and miserable. I don’t want their life. Help me find something better!” There’s a paradox at work here becaues these children enjoyed the material comforts their parents’ lifestyle provided, and yet these same young people also saw through the veneer of their parents’ false and fleeting values.
Jay Strother, Perspectives on Family Ministry: 3 Views, p. 147