Do Christian Parents Flirt with the Idol of Safety?

Cameron Cole | February 10, 2016


Most families—rich, poor, or middle class—have an image, maybe even a dream, of what their child’s life will look like once they reach adulthood.

If pressed to describe it, the image might include impressive academic credentials, a high-paying job, good medical benefits, a solid retirement package, a house in the suburbs, a lovely spouse, and as many grandchildren as possible (but not to the point of financial endangerment). Behind the high-pressure academics, ACT tutors, private coaches, and race to optimize college acceptance lies a target at which many Christian parents are aiming. I once asked a parent what the college arms race was all about.

“So our kids can live in a neighborhood like this,” he replied, pointing to an affluent street of homes with perfectly manicured lawns.

Universal Dream

But this desire to see kids live the “American Dream” isn’t limited to upper middle class suburban families. The children of immigrants feel a similar pressure.

A Chinese American seminary classmate related a story about when he told his parents he wanted to pursue a career as a teacher or pastor. “That’s nice, son,” they said. “You will be a doctor or lawyer.” All the Asian American students in the class erupted in laughter, while the…

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