800px-Forum_Romanium_1RBBy Oliver DeMille

I recently read a fantastic quote that made me think of your home.

And mine.

And everyone else’s who is raising great children and youth.

It reminded me that today’s young people are an amazing generation, and I’m convinced that God has huge plans for them.

That’s not necessarily what their parents want for them, of course.

We tend to hope that our kids will have lives of peace, prosperity, tranquility and gentle, enjoyable evenings and days.

The old Chinese proverb “May you live in uninteresting times” expresses this idea well.

Some sources say that the actual quote is “May you live in interesting times,” but if so the misquote is used far more often than the original.

Interesting times are, well, challenging.

Or even downright terrifying.

But the quote I read reminded me that interesting times can be pretty great too.

The quote came for the classical writer Livy, who lived in the interesting and tragic era when the great, free Roman Republic turned into the tyrannical Roman Empire.

Here is the quote.

Think of your kids as you read it, and see if it touches you as much as it did me:

“I hope my passion for Rome’s past has not impaired my judgment, for I do honestly believe that no country has ever been greater or purer or richer in good citizens and noble deeds; none has been free for so many generations from the vices of avarice and luxury; nowhere have thrift and plain living been for so long held in such esteem. Indeed, poverty, with us, went hand in hand with contentment.”

That’s an outline for truly great homes, for raising young people who live up to their potential, for turning our houses into homes of greatness.

Livy then compares this great founding of his nation with the worsened conditions of his own time:

“Of late years wealth has made us greedy, and self-indulgence has brought us, through every form of sensual excess, to be, if I may so put it, in love with death both individual and collective.”

Wow! There is so much in this quote.

But I won’t focus on the clear comparison to our day, or the downfall of Rome’s greatness through wealth, greed, self-indulgence and sensual excess.

No, the thing that really strikes me about this quote is how much it sounds like today’s youth.

I love the imagery it invokes: no country has ever been greater, purer, or richer in good citizens and noble deeds, free from vices, avarice and luxury, with esteem for thrift and plain living, and contentment.

The words wholesome, good, pure, potential, and greatness all come to mind.

Maybe this is best captured in the Leadership Education Manifesto:


“A movement is sweeping across the world. Not of protestors raging in streets. But of families loving and learning in consecrated homes. Of devoted mothers who look into their children’s eyes and see future leaders.

“Of valiant fathers who thirst for greatness. Of youth who feel a stirring in their souls to renounce conveyor-belt mediocrity. They hear the call of mission to seek truth, build strong families and communities, spread freedom and prosperity, create beauty, heal society.

Their Allegiance is clear.

“They will not compromise their virtue. They will not rest while they see need. They unplug from TV and tabloids to immerse themselves in the classics and engage with mentors. They learn because they are inspired, not required.

“Compelled to grapple with life’s most important questions. To earn a Leadership Education. To innovate solutions for humanity. To learn more, become more, so they can serve more.

We are this generation of leaders. We will rise to our potential with an education to match our mission. And we will be the change we wish to see in the world.

That’s who your kids are.

And kids like that don’t just happen.

Kudos to the parents who, despite the many struggles of life, are building homes of greatness.


Image Oliver DeMille is the co-founder of the Center for Social Leadership, and a co-creator of TJEd. He is the NY Times Bestselling co-author of LeaderShift, and author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, The Coming Aristocracy: Education & the Future of Freedom, and FreedomShift: 3 Choices to Reclaim America’s Destiny.

Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through Leadership Education. He and his wife Rachel have eight children and nine grandchildren (and counting).