Happiness is a magic word. Everybody wants to be happy always. Happiness is not something that falls out of the sky and into our laps. It is a wonderfully complex state of mind that can be strengthened with practice. And I am sure we all, as parents, want our children to experience happiness and joy in life. It is our job to guide our children in so many areas as they grow up. We train them how to keep them clean and good mannered. We teach them how to keep them safe and what to do in cases of emergency. We provide them with the things they need and they want. In the world of material plenty and abundance we buy them whatever they ask for in order to make them and keep them happy. We believe that leading a very successful life is the key to happiness. Yes, it is true, success brings happiness but how many of us really believe that happier people are more likely to be successful at school, work and in their personal lives?
The happier we are the more successful we become. When we are in a positive mindset our brains become more engaged, creative, motivated, energetic and productive.
Teaching our children how to be happy by encouraging them to instill strong habits in them is a big responsibility of all parents.
- 1. Be grateful: Teaching children in the world of overabundance is a daunting task. It is easy to get sucked into the consumer mentality of the society where more is better and bigger is better. An attitude which makes people run after every new gadgets and consumer products.
- 2. Saying no: All parents struggle to say no to their children and the ability to say no to their children appears to be long gone. Parents are so carried away by the mindset that it is their responsibility to give their children whatever they ask for without realizing the fact that what they want is not what they need. Having some expendable cash at hand doesn’t mean that you have to spend it right away. Also children lose their opportunity to appreciate what they already have and be grateful.
- 3. Pray together: According to a recent study more than 26 percent of the younger generation in this country is growing up with out any belief system. Secular culture is eating up the fabric of the value based society that was built into place over millennia. It is a serious threat to the existence and smooth functioning of our society. A family that prays together stays together.
- 4. Eat together: It is always necessary to eat together as a family. The dinner table should be a place where the family gather together to eat, feel free, share their experiences and ideas, and discuss things that would help and enhance the growth and development of all involved.
- 5. Act of kindness: Kindness is a skill that we can teach our children to help them find greater happiness. Acting with kindness increases the flow of the feel good chemical dopamine within the do-gooder’s brain making them feel happy. The best way to teach our children to do good things is to practice and be a model to them in our homes. Teach tolerance, highlight opportunities to give back to the community and volunteer as a family. Actively participating in activities organized by the youth group and other voluntary agencies of the Church would help.
- 6. Happy homes: Our brains are most receptive to new ideas and information when we are relatively stress free, happy and engaged. Happiness is crucial for critical thinking. Encouraging creative ideas from children can come in the form of including them in family decisions. All important decisions must be made by the family as one unit. Discussions should be held and different opinions considered before important decisions are made.
Happiness is much more than a feeling. “Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven”. The scripture says. To be happy and joy let us lead a committed religious life lifting our eyes to the Lord our God and asking for His help through the intercession of our mother Mary, the Mother of God.