This is a good question to ask because the answer will determine what we emphasize to our children and students. Here is Paul Tripp’s answer:
If we could wish one thing for our children, what would it be? Deeper than houses, cars, jobs, and mates, more fundamental than the location and situation, what kind of person are we working so hard to produce? Deeper than where they are and what they will do, what do we want them to be?
David captures what should be the paramount focus of all of our parenting efforts as he describes his own desires.
One thing I ask of the LORD,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple. (Ps. 27:4)
How lovely is your dwelling place,
O LORD Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.
Even the sparrow has found a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may have her young–
a place near your altar,
O LORD Almighty, my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
they are ever praising you. . .
Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked. (Ps. 84:1-4, 10)
What David expresses in colorful Old Testament language is a heart for God. Above all else, this is the goal of our parenting efforts…We cannot let ourselves elevate any other quality over this one. We cannot be too busy to invest in seeing this developed. We cannot follow the cultural norms that elevate education and career far above everything else; the Bible would say that someone who has lived only to be successful in these things has been a fool. This goal of a heart for God reflects the purpose for our creation as human beings.
(Age of Opportunity: A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teens, copyright©2001, pages 169-170)