It’s been a while. All is well here. Boy has life been busy. I recently started some educational consulting, hosted 19 people in my home over Thanksgiving, gave my daughter a surprise sweet 16 party, and have recovered from a nasty upper respiratory infection.
I’ve been wanting to share this with you for some time.
I watched a TED talk video while on the plane to New Orleans several weeks ago and it really got me to thinking. The talk is by Jennifer Senior. Click on this link to view For Parents, Happiness is a very high bar.
Are you familiar with TED talks? TED is a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less). TED began in 1984 as a conference where Technology, Entertainment and Design joined together. They cover a wide variety of topics.
I am an occasional viewer but this one really stood out for me. It was an interesting 18 minute video, and she makes several great points. After watching, I asked myself if the way I am raising my children makes me happy and if my kids are happy. Overall, I would say yes to both questions but there are days when neither the kids nor I are all that happy for any number of reasons. Some days we are cranky, over tired, disappointed….you get the picture. We all experience a range of normal human emotions regularly. In general though, based on my self assessment, I would say we are happy most of the time.
That leads me to the question, how is happy defined? What is happy? Happiness means different things to different people.
My takeaway from her talk is that parenting has evolved over the years. There was a time when children worked to economically contribute to the household instead of going to school. Well, today due to child labor laws and the evolution to a more modern society in every sense of the word, we now work for our children.
Most “modern parents” are consumed with raising intelligent, socially well-adjusted, happy kids who will be productive, contributing members of our society. I admit it, I am one of those modern parents. So we spend much of our time and money paying for the best schools, music lessons, sports, and running from here to there. After all, don’t the majority of parents want the best for their kids? Again, best means different things to different people.
She challenges us to think about whether our quest to produce happy, well -adjusted kids while running ourselves ragged will produce a happy child? I don’t have the answer to that and neither does she. I have to admit, there are days when I am dog tired but I wouldn’t change a thing. Multiple kids mean multiple activities and results in a busy life.
I’m excited about my children’s future and believe we are on the right path. Honestly, I look forward to seeing them as successful adults and me retired sitting on the beach somewhere.
My goal is to love them beyond measure, teach them about God’s love, expose them to different experiences, instill compassion in them, help them discover their abilities, interests and talents while guiding them through valuable life lessons along the way.
She closes by suggesting that instead of focusing on our desperate quest for producing happy kids, we focus on developing moral, thoughtful kids. We should focus on celebrating their accomplishments and enhancing their self-esteem just by showing them love. Raising our kids with the basic core values of human decency, work ethic, and love may just be a better goal and let happiness take care of itself. I agree on some level but we have to be very intentional parents not leaving things to chance.
What are your thoughts?
Peace and Blessings,