10 things to teach your kids about happiness

Friday, March 16, 2012

Happiness. That is the word of the day. Everywhere. Magazines, TV, internet, books, billboards, packaging. Everywhere is the promise. If you have this, if you follow this, if you buy that, then... you will be happy.

Luke is always asking me for something, a toy he wants to buy, a snack at the store, a video to watch, a place to go, and he shows very strong signs that if he just gets that, then he will be happy. Sometimes I start to believe that maybe that is true, if I just get that for him.... so I give in just to find a few minutes later that no, there is something else down the list to happiness that it is still missing! Silly Luke, always wanting more! But, wait a minute, what about me? 

I heard someone say that marketing teaches people to act like children. Are you hungry? Eat. Are you bored? Get entertainment fast! Are you feeling down? Go shopping! And then, a few minutes later, just like Luke, we are all wanting something else. 

In one of his books, Philip Yancey said that the happiest people he ever met were not the famous ones he interviewed as a journalist. The happiest ones he ever met were the ones helping sick people in a colony for leprosy in India. Have you ever seen the ad anywhere? Spend a happy week of your vacation helping lepers in India!?? Me neither.

Beth Moore once said "Oddly, the most freeing thing we can ever do is to abdicate the throne of our own miniature kingdoms." Like the ring, in the Lord of Rings, you want it so much that it starts to destroy you. And Beth also said "Whatever God is urging you to clear away cannot begin to be compared to what He ultimately wants to bring you."!

So while I still have a lot to learn about happiness, there are a few things that I can teach my boys about happiness:
  1. the more you give, the more you become
  2. the more you learn to wait, the more you will appreciate,
  3. because the goal is what you became, not what you get
  4. hard work is not a curse, it is a privilege
  5. rules are there to protect you
  6. humbleness is not a weakness
  7. don't do to others what you don't want it done to you
  8. the world does not revolve around you,
  9. and yet God loves you
  10. "God surpasses our dreams when we reach past our personal plans and agendas to grab the hand of Christ and walk the path he chose for us. He is obligated to keep us dissatisfied until we come to him and his plan for complete satisfaction." (Beth Moore, Breaking Free)
Have a happy weekend!!