The goal of parenting is not a happy child, 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 actually have any children of his own. He was older and wiser. A sage looking on from a distance.
But then Matthew 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 a very 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.
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The 10 Habit 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. Doesn’t have to be perfect.
9. Happiness doesn’t depend on circumstances. You don’t have to let your situation determine your happiness. For inspiration, read about people like Corrie Ten Boom or Darlene Deibler Rose and you’ll see what I mean.
10. True happiness is always grounded in the God of Hope. He is the only real source of true 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 kids.
And aiming those happy kids toward a successful adulthood.
Looking to the God of Hope together.
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