Day 6 in the platitude series. I like these platitudes because they cross the line. They cross the line between being fluffy and being meaningful. They cross the line between being about improving us as parents, and improving our kids as well. So listen and decide for yourself.
Today we talk about another topic that is out of reach for half of the adults out there. Happiness. So if adults can’t conquer this, how are kids supposed to? Well I didn’t say we guarantee success here, I just asked everyone to try.
The article I mention sayd, “Pursuing happiness is not at all the same as feeling happy, which is a fleeting emotion dependent on momentary circumstances. This is something that tends to confuse us when we’re young. Happy moments feel great and are often fun-filled – if the sun is shining, by all means we should bask in it. But happy moments always pass, because time passes. The lifelong pursuit of happiness, on the other hand, is far more elusive; it’s not based on a particular momentary circumstance. What you are really pursuing is meaning – living a meaningful life. It starts with your “why.” (Why are you doing what you’re doing every day?) When your “why” has significance, you are living your life on your own terms, which makes the inevitable obstacles that arise on your path that much easier and more fulfilling to overcome. In essence, you are putting forth effort and pushing forward because doing so brings meaning into your life. (Do your best to help your child find their “why,” and let them know that it’s OK if it changes over time.)”
Now finding a kid’s “Why” sounds very fraught with problems to me. What if I get it wrong, what if it’s a bad “why”. But the research I see out there says we all have a deep down “why” and it’s generally formed by the time we’re teens. This means I only have 10 years to find and help my kid here. And while there are dissertations written on child development, I would say to keep focusing on (for example) how your kids felt while playing sports, and not the score of the game. Focus on the effort, and not the outcome, and your kids will naturally find a path that satisfies their goals.