A friend calls me up recently: “My uncle’s sons do not think about fatherhood, it is all about studies, the university and getting a great job…. These young guys are not even thinking about going out with girls.”

“When asking these parents about how their kids are doing, it is always about how smart they are, how they are in the best schools, the colleges they are going to, all the activities they are involved in.… Something shallow about the way they talk.”

And he keeps going:

“Marriage is not even in the cards… Young guys do not think much about the goal of being married and becoming a dad. Seems all they care about is making sure they are financially set…. Money is all that seems to matter.” “Parents push the kids even when they are very young: about 5 or 6. When these little kids start school, they are targeted for the ‘best education’’ and so they are going to school early, and staying after. At these young ages they are learning entrepreneurship, leadership, and even coding. How does this affect them?”

So, my response:

Yes, definitely a tragedy. Kids are being completely oriented to succeed in school, and after, career. The family takes back seat—if it is even regarded at all. All this supposed “education” is keeping kids from being kids; from proper development. Even worse, without sufficient outdoor play the boys especially will be disaffected. As regards the higher ends: Sure, it is a natural desire in life to have a wife and become a father. Family life brings a loving community, where one can find his or her place. Sure this is why, deep down, young people feel they are without navigation. The higher things to which they are called are not even in their sights. Fatherhood gives a man direction. Wife and children bring a sense of purpose. And they give an identity. How late in life many men realize they have lived such shallow lives when all their financial security is ordered to nothing else but themselves. We are designed by God to love, to serve, to give, to lay down are lives for others. Men and women both find purpose in sacrifice, not in indulgence or self-interest. And, to be clear: the sacrifice needs to be person-centered, and not simply goal or career oriented.

And so my friend continues:

“That’s right. Only when I began having my own family did I start to see this.” “My children are my purpose.” “They and my wife give me my identity.” “Sure it is hard, but I know who I am and what I am called to.”

Yep, when we live for ourselves, we are never free. We are made for others. And the over-emphasis on success in education and career is hurting the Family—and by extension—Society and Church as well.