There are so many things I want for my children. My list is long and includes the hope that they grow to be kind, courteous, generous, loyal and honest adults. But perhaps the thing I want most for them is to be truly happy.
I don’t believe people are happy by accident, and I don’t think happiness comes from acquiring material things.
In my mind, happiness is a learned behavior — a choice — that becomes a central part of who we grow to be.
For my children to learn what it means to be happy in the simplicity of the every day, they must see that in me.
Of course, it’s impossible to be happy all of the time. Life isn’t always easy. There are days when the dishes have piled up in the sink, loads of laundry have to be cycled through, and I feel overwhelmed, tired and crabby. In those moments, I have a choice. I can either wallow in my bad mood or try to shake it off.
Given how important it is for children to see their parents express joy, it’s our responsibility to seek happiness for them as much as for ourselves.
But how do we do that?
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Marcel Proust, French novelist, critic and essayist, wrote, “Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”
And as sappy as it may sound, those words echo in my mind when I look at my children. I want to be that gardener for them. I want to see them carry happiness through life and spread joy to others along the way.
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