Over the last few weeks, I’ve heard the following phrases in a variety of places (conversations, TV, books) so I decided the Godiverse wanted me to think about this concept:
Doesn’t that sound lovely? But, if that’s truly your only goal for your kids, THEY WILL FAIL. Seriously, if you had to look back, were you always happy? Are you happy now? Maybe that statement should read, “All I want for my children is that they be happy more often than unhappy.” That statement gives no guidance or measure. It’s better but ….
I look around the world and my life and I see so much pain. Children with cancer. Divorce. Infidelity. Bankruptcy. Kids in trouble. Failed businesses. Unrealized dreams. Deteriorating health. Aging and dying parents. Car wrecks. Hurricanes. Forest fires. Military disasters. Shall I go on?
The point, of course, is that for long seasons of our lives, happiness is not obtainable.
I decided to make a list of what I want for my children that’s actually possible:
Well-tended Bodies – there are some health and body issues that cannot be controlled. But I want my children to take care of themselves to reduce the change of deteriorating health. And if a health concern cannot be avoided, a well-tended body will help with recovery.
Financial Security – I have no desire for my children to be wealthy. I’d like my children to make wise financial decisions. I want them to be willing to sacrifice to have what they want. Again, they cannot control our economy, our government’s interference. But they can mediate those types of disasters by being intentional in how the spend, save, invest.
Quality Relationships – There is not such thing as a “happy” relationship because relationships are people and people are not always happy. What I want for my children is authenticity. I want them to choose carefully who they let in. I want them to admit when they are wrong. I want them to listen and consider. And if a relationship is important, I want them to swallow their pride and seek help when necessary. Most of all, I want them to accept and love people AS THEY ARE. Just as they cannot control their DNA or the world’s economic system, they cannot control other people. Therefore, they have to be willing to walk away when a relationship becomes toxic (but also willing to work when a relationship is worth saving).
Relationships Part 2 – if my children decide to have children, I want them to take that responsibility more seriously than any other. I want those kids to come before social media, financial success, societal acceptance. I want my children to know their children well enough to intervene when something is awry. I want my children to be willing to swallow their pride, look at their children through an honest lens, and get help when needed, without delay and without judgment.
Growth – I think some of the most unhappy people are those that don’t have adventure. I’m not suggesting jumping out of planes or scuba-diving or even world travel. But everyone can push their own comfort zone. It may be a simple as trying a new restaurant or learning a new game or taking a walk in a new setting, picking up a different type of book (or any book), finding a new hobby, changing a habit. You get the idea. I don’t want my kids to end up in a recliner wishing the world would stay the same. The world will not stay the same.
“I want my children to be happy,” is a nice pithy saying. I’d like to offer a better saying – a saying that encapsulates what I want for my children other than happy.
Brian and Sydney – Happiness will come and go; but you can make wise decisions with your body, your mind, your finances, your relationships so that happiness returns after the storm passes.
Okay, that’s too long but I like it. It’s real. It’s possible. It doesn’t pretend.
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