Speaking as someone who has no children, I am always very careful in sharing my opinions when it comes to parenthood and child-rearing. That’s not to say that I don’t HAVE opinions, but a single guy giving parenting tips would be like Goliath giving tips to midgets.
That being said, I do have two gorgeous nieces aged 25 and 21 and one strapping young nephew who is 9. While hardly their primary caregiver, I like to think that I have had a very important role in their upbringing, so I have decided to give myself the right to share with you my insight – or lack thereof.
There is one declaration I have heard countless parents tell their children – in real life, in the movies, on television, in bad novels and pamphlets, you name it – and it drives me absolutely nuts because I so totally disagree with it.
You may not agree with my disagreement, but hear me out.
The phrase I am referring to is: “All I want is for you to be happy.”
Do You Want Your Children to Be Happy?
Yes, it sounds good in theory, and the speaker surely has the best of intentions, but I think it’s a very dangerous thing to say that can be very misconstrued.
It concerns me that a good chunk of the world’s problems nowadays are rooted in our own selfish desire to be happy.
Someone robs a bank to get the money, the money will buy him everything he wants, this will make him happy. An extreme example, perhaps, but I’m trying to make a point.
Living a faithful Christian life will not always make us happy. I think there is an overall feeling of satisfaction when we make sacrifices and life decisions that we hope are pleasing to God, but that doesn’t necessarily provide a sense of happiness – at least in the earthly sense.
My oldest niece and I have had this talk on more than one occasion. I have told her that what I want is for her to lead a life that she thinks is pleasing to God and is able to find as much happiness as she can in doing so. But is all I want for her to be happy? Nope.
Are You a Happy Person?
I consider myself a content person more than a happy person. Now I do have moments of happiness and joy, dare I say even giddiness from time to time, but I could never be a game show contestant. I consider myself someone who is content that the sacrifices I have made will result in an everlasting happiness someday that will trump even the most joyful of joys here on earth.
Life is difficult when the Bible isn’t necessarily black or white about certain issues. Our beliefs are based on many criteria, including our upbringing, our environment, our church, and our life experiences. I have made decisions in my life that I continue to question because I just don’t have the answers, but I choose to err on the side of caution.
Perhaps you, too, have found yourselves uncertain what to believe. Age brings wisdom and maturity, but it also brings questioning, reevaluation, and wondering if what we thought 20 years ago is still what we truly believe today.
All I Want Is For You to Be Happy.
Ecclesiastes 7:14 states, “When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad consider: God has made the one as well as the other.”
I would have expected the verse to state that when times are good you should be happy, and when times are bad we should still be happy. Instead the author encourages us to remember that God is there behind us during the good and bad times.
I believe God cares about our feelings – in fact, I’m sure of it. Yet, not at the sacrifice of living a life worthy of His calling. Earthly happiness will be fleeting; the eternal glory of heaven will last forever.
My friends, I sincerely hope your children are happy; but even more than happiness, I wish your children the faith to live by their convictions, the hope to get them through the rough days, love to share with those around them, and the courage to do what is right rather than what will just make them happy.
Excellent points. These types of comments always make me cringe. The other that really gets me is the “You deserve it” comments. Just why do we “deserve” a wonderful birthday, etc. ?
Good point, momofsix! Although I’m not sure I say, “you deserve it” to my kids, I know I say that to my friends sometimes, like taking a night off or splurging on an outfit. I have to think some more about how I feel about that one.
This post has made me think! I am quite sure I’ve never said to my children, “All I want is for you to be happy.” I’m sure I haven’t. This topic has made me think about what I DO want for them. I pray they follow Christ in their lives and believe in Him as their Savior. I do hope they find happiness, peace and joy — but I think when we seek after those things primarily, they are out of our grasp. The times in my life when I am most serving God and serving other people are when I have found joy and happiness.
I also think sometimes Christians sometimes tend to slip into being somewhat morose under the thought of “we have to be content with this life and not happy until we get to heaven” and that’s just not true. There is a lot of happiness in this life — pain, yes, but there is happiness and joy, too. God is our Father and wants to give us good gifts.
I also found this article which I found interesting: http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/practical-faith/actually-god-does-want-you-be-happy