The goal of parenting is not happy children but to turn out a successful adult.
That‘s what our friend informed us as we all sat around the dinner table together. Two couples enjoying a fine meal and fine china. Two couples without children.
And you know something? At first, it seemed to make sense.
Our friend expounded on his theory. I mean, what makes a child happy? If you give a kid a piece of candy, then he’s happy. If you don’t, then he’s not. You can’t build a life around that.
Now isn’t that the truth!
Never mind that the gentleman didn’t have any children of his own. He was older and wiser. A sage looking on from a distance.
But then Matt and I went on to have children ourselves, and our view changed a bit. Quite a bit. Suddenly we didn’t see anything wrong with wanting our child to be happy.
And, tell me again, how does happiness conflict with being a successful adult?
Maybe we wanted too much.
But my husband and I wanted our children to enjoy both a happy childhood and a successful adulthood.
We started to consider the possibility that the two of these went together – even went hand-in-hand. We began to suspect that learning how to be happy could be an important skill to take into adulthood.
What if we were to pass on to our children the habits of happiness as a gift? Something that they could carry with them wherever God took them in life.
The 10 Habits of Happy Children
1. Happiness is not found in things.
Things will never make you happy. Never. Stuff will always remain just that: stuff. So don’t get drawn into the Stuff Game – it’s not nearly as much fun as it sounds.
2. Happiness is a choice.
Here’s the deal: happiness is not something you “find” or that “happens to you.” The beauty of happiness is that it is a choice you get to make. Every day. So why not choose to be happy?
3. Happiness is not about getting your way.
We think we’ll be content if we finally get what we want or if things go our way. But that’s not how it works. Getting our way all the time is rarely as satisfying as we think it will be.
4. Happiness grows out of thankfulness.
If you make it your habit to be grateful each day for the blessings around you – whether big or small – you will find that you’ll become a happier person. The secret is simply being thankful for what you have right now.
5. Happiness is found in looking after others.
Surprised? Often, we assume that happiness is found in looking after ourselves, but the irony is that we are the ones who are blessed . . . when we are blessing others.
But he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he. ~ Prov. 14:21
6. Happiness isn’t a personality trait but a character quality.
Some people seem happy, as if that’s just the way they were made. Not so. Happiness is available to all for the taking. You can learn to be happy – much like you learn to be honest, kind, and thoughtful.
7. Happiness is found more in relationship than in achievement.
While there’s nothing wrong with achieving goals, never let those goals come before the people you love. Always invest in relationships more than fame or fortune.
8. Happiness means giving it your best.
And resting in that. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
9. Happiness doesn’t depend on circumstances.
10. True happiness is always grounded in the God of Hope.
He is the only source of real joy.
Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help,
Whose hope is in the LORD his God. ~ Psalm 146:5
So now we’re enjoying raising a bunch of happy children.
And aiming those happy kids toward a successful adulthood
You love your children–but that doesn’t mean you always know the most effective ways to show that love, ways that will connect with their hearts and stick with them no matter what life throws their way.
This practical book by the authors of 100 Ways to Love Your Wife and 100 Ways to Love Your Husband gives you 100 specific, actionable ideas you can implement to show love to your son or daughter, no matter what age they are. The best part? The short, bite-sized readings make it easy to start right now!
Whether you felt a lack of love growing up and long to do things differently with your own kids or you feel like you’re constantly competing with the culture for your child’s attention, these books will help you show your children that you care, helping you forge a bond of love that lasts a lifetime.
Lisa is the happily-ever-after wife of Matt Jacobson and together they enjoy raising and home-educating their 8 children in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She encourages women to embrace the rich life of loving relationships and the high calling of being a wife and mother. Lisa is the author of 100 Ways to Love Your Husband and her husband is the author of 100 Ways to Love Your Wife. Matt and Lisa are also the co-hosts of the FAITHFUL LIFE podcast where they talk about what it means to be a biblical Christian in marriage, parenting, church, and culture.