You speak of the Indian Rishis? They were mainly householder rishis. Their whole life was Dharma. They did not approach it by practicing and then giving up, or running hot and cold, or by giving way to complacency, but by sincere, adamant self-effort followed by attainment of the highest order.
Parents need to share the teachings of the dharma to their offspring, and then watch for signs of remembrance in the child, like one would look at a drunkard for signs of sobering.
If you consider this human birth a boon, it is a good thing. But then what do you do with it? You must spend your time in studying the dharma and causing the teachings to run deep.
"The end of knowledge is in Truth," says Sri Krishna. This is one of the most pregnant statements in the scriptures. Should our knowledge end in money, in fame, in suffering, in secular knowledge only? It should not. It must end in Truth.
Dissolving oblations into fire, like the ancients used to do in daily homa ritual, is to be done in modern times using the mind. All acts you do are oblations that get offered into the fire of Om, of Brahman. Procreation, marriage, imparting dharma – these are to become oblations.
The problem in daily commerce is created at the moral level, but the real problem is that it hides our true nature by keeping us involved in business and continually stuck in the sense of loss and gain. By always engaging in commerce, what was called parigraha by the ancients, one forgets one's past lives, and therefore the knowledge and spiritual insights gained in them.
Imagine that you are suddenly bereft of all the beneficial knowledge you have. Where would you be? Now turn this around: What if you had full access to all you learned from your previous lives — secular knowledge, psychological knowledge, metaphysical, spiritual, and higher spiritual knowledge? We have just described an illumined soul, a Nityasiddha.
Freedom of the spiritual kind, called moksha or mukti, is not easily won back from the hands of the triple bondage (spouse, offspring, and wealth) and worse. For monks, the step of renunciation is already accomplished. For householders, the lesson or renunciation has to be learned and implemented, then followed by turning the family dharmic and the workplace a temple of service. Eventually, one’s whole world will be given up into love divine where “All is Brahman.”
"Only with fearlessness can we maintain equanimity in the midst of distractions." - Jamgon Kontrul Rinpoche