Or the apprehension of a Chilean miner, high in the unforgiving Andes, as he watches his son go into the 1000-metre deep pit which has, one by one, claimed the lives of his friends.
Or the unease of the tough Fraserburgh trawlerman as he takes his boy, north east by east into the pitiless grey seas of the Arctic in search of ever scarcer fish.
They all have one thing in common: an instinct to give their offspring the skills, the courage and the experience to be able to fend for themselves in the environment in which they will raise their own children.
It is a natural and an understandable urge. But how does this natural imperative translate into a modern, urbanised, sophisticated and interconnected world where children no longer need to hunt for the food on their table?
Do parents no longer have the burden of duty to equip their children for the world they will eventually command? Can they delegate that millennia-old task to institutions such as schools and colleges? Can they ask other people to do their future-proofing for them?
It hardly seems likely. These essential human responsibilities are not abandoned so easily and most people will still seek to equip their children as best they can for the environment they will find themselves in.
But how on earth do they do that? Well, perhaps the first step is to recognise the world for the place it is today - a globalised environment in which your competitors are not in the same town or city, but are all over the world and all fighting equally hard for a slice of the cake. Indeed, nowadays your local competitor could be your best ally to take on the world.
In some ways it is immeasurably more challenging than the examples above, all of which are necessarily as simplistic as the environments out of which they were born.
Ours is a complicated and closely intertwined global society and we need, like the miner and the trawlerman, to pass down to our children the skills, the versatility and the mindset to adapt to it.
That means we must establish a much more entrepreneurial approach - an approach which encourages individual thinking, innovative ways of problem solving and an analytical and pragmatic philosophy when things go wrong.
As a result, they will be best placed to seize the many opportunities that undoubtedly exist, more than ever before.
What we must do is undermine, and eventually banish, the "that'll do" or the "that's good enough" or the "don’t get above yourself" approach which is so prevalent in many aspects of current life and replace it with a "aim really high and think global" approach.
We must also raise all our expectations. This applies not just to the young person setting out, but to us all, even our rightly celebrated entrepreneurs. So often we see a Scottish entrepreneur who has built a £20 million company and then sold it on to a multi-national being hailed as a business role model.
Instead we need to teach our children that £20 million is excellent, but it's just a start. They can build on that until they have competitive global companies which are creating wealth, creating jobs in the community and creating a lasting legacy.
People in business will tell you that it's a jungle out there, that it's the survival of the fittest. But other people have survived and thrived in other types of jungle and it is demeaning to think that the current generation of young Scots are somehow ill-equipped to make their way in their own global jungle.
All we have to do is, like generations before us, give them the knowledge, the experience and the enthusiasm to get out there and fight for the right to carve out their own future.
They might be a bit confused and perhaps a bit frightened at first, but they will thank us in the end. After all it's not just their future, but their own children's legacy at stake.
Sandy Kennedy if chief executive of
the Saltire Foundation
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