What I’d Like to Teach My Children About Happiness

teaching happiness

Pinterest is the most amazing place to go for happiness quotes, motivational quotes and bible verses when you feel you need something in particular. As the mother of four, I find that I use Pinterest every single morning with my coffee to find a daily bible verse that applies to what’s going on in my life. Perhaps it’s a reminder that the best days of my life have not yet happened, or that the happiest people are the ones who are the most appreciative, or just something to motivate me to get up and get to work so that I can send my kids to college and make sure they always have those annual Disney passes they love so much.

Happiness is important to me. I have always been a happy person, but it never became more obvious to me that happiness is a choice until I woke up one day, newly pregnant with our second child and realized that I was having a miscarriage. I was miserable. I was miserable when I was given the go-ahead by my doctor to try again and ended up having a second miscarriage a month later. It was dark times for me, and my husband was with me. I was miserable, and that’s when someone said something to me that really hit home.

Happiness is not an accident; it’s on purpose.

I’ve never heard a truer statement in my life. I’m not happy because I accidentally fell into happiness. I’m happy because I choose happiness. I was choosing to mourn the loss of my babies, and that’s all right. But I then chose to continue to mourn and to feel sorry for myself instead of choosing happiness at the fact that we already had an 18-month-old daughter, one another and very little else to complain about. That was more than 5 years ago, and we’ve since been blessed with a second daughter and a set of boy/girl twins. Our family is complete.

I now make it a point to choose happiness every single day. Sure, I can allow myself to become annoyed that my kids woke up an hour early this morning, but I don’t. Instead, I chose to be happy that I got that time to spend with them this morning since one day they won’t want to spend that time with me. I could choose to be unhappy when they don’t listen to me, but I choose to chalk it up to childhood and a potential life lesson for them about respect.

I choose happiness, and I want to teach my kids to do the same. I want my kids to know that happiness is not what they think it is. It’s not a goal in life; it is life. Here’s what I am teaching my own children about happiness.

Happiness Comes from Within

There is nothing worse than a person who thinks that happiness is something that they have to find in another person. My husband and my kids make me so happy, it’s true. However, if I’d never met my husband or never had my kids, I bet I’d still be pretty happy. Why? Because my own happiness is all about me and how I treat myself.

Happiness is a Choice

You cannot control the things that happen to you in life, but you can control how you react to those things. I choose happiness. This morning, for instance, when my 18-month-old SUV decided to start screeching at me stop the car because my oil pressure was low and I was miles from home, I panicked. After a few moments, I calmed down and called the dealership and spoke with them. I’ll be taking it in tomorrow and driving a rental for a few days, but I chose to be happy. Why? Because a car that’s acting like a jerk is something to be upset about, but knowing that I can take it in and have it fixed without worry is something that provides me with happiness.

Happiness is Not about Materialism

Happiness is not about what you have. It’s about how you feel about what you have. I have a quote on my phone that I like to keep near and dear to remind myself that it’s not about what I have that determines how happy I am. It’s what I do with my life that makes me happy. When I choose to be grateful for what I have and I choose to make the most of what I have, I’m happier than when I have a bunch of ‘stuff’ that doesn’t do anything but look good sitting in my driveway or hanging in my closet. Anyone can be happy with anything so long as they choose to be happy about it.

Worry Brings Nothing to Your Life

You can worry all you want, but even the Bible wants to know what that can do for you. Worry does not solve your problems. It does not change your life. It takes away from the happiness you have right now and it detracts from your overall quality of life. I want my kids to know that worry is a waste of time and a very negative thief of joy and happiness.

Fake it Til you Make It

I am accused of having the ‘perfect’ life and of always being happy (I’m sure there are worse things to be accused of, and that’s not accurate. I have a great life, because I appreciate all that I have in my life. I’m not perfect, and neither is my life. But I can be a jerk about it or I can be an optimist. I choose optimism. When my imperfect kids are being imperfect, I want to yell; and sometimes I do. But what I do most often is sit back and take a breath and deal with it. when I’m in a bad mood, I paste a fake smile on my face, laugh at jokes that aren’t all that funny and pretend I’m in an amazing mood. It doesn’t take that long before I actually am in an amazing mood, and that’s something I greatly appreciate.

And that’s what I want my children to know about happiness.

Photo by Getty Images


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