There goes a Chinese maxim "前人 强 不如 后人 强".
前人= former generation, ancestor;
后人= later generation, descendant;
强= strong, powerful;
不如= not as good/well as, inferior to, less desirable than.
The sentence literally means "That the ancestors are successful is less desirable than that the descendants are successful."
The maxim reminds you that your future is your children, so you should invest a lot of efforts (like education, discipline, etc.) in your offspring. If they fail, you will fade eventually, no matter how great you are now. Sometimes it's wise to even "sacrifice"[note] your own success for your kids' success.
note: “When I hear people talk about juggling, or the sacrifices they make for their children, I look at them like they're crazy, because 'sacrifice' infers that there was something better to do than being with your children.” - Chris Rock
I suppose English native speakers share the same wisdom. So please tell me a few common English sayings which convey "that the ancestors are successful is inferior to that the descendants are successful."
The maxim compares whose prosperity is more important instead of greater. That's to say, even if you can achieve more by "investing yourself" than by investing your children, you should still invest your kids.
The Chinese maxim doesn't (at least not directly) refer to the whole society. It talks about "you" (as your children's ancestor) and "your children" (as your descendant).
To ensure your offspring's prosperity, you should, of course, have offspring in the first place. The Chinese maxim also implies this meaning.