When I was pregnant with my first child, I asked my mother if she had been happy as a parent. This godly woman who had raised six children and fostered more than 40 over a nearly 50-year span shrugged, saying “What does happiness have to do with it?”
Through interviews with myself, and Andrew Hess of Focus on the Family, Sarah has gathered together “some ways parents can put happiness into its proper prospective in relation to child rearing and the family.” Her main points are:
- Communicate joy
- Consistently discipline
- Guard innocence
- Embrace sadness
- Eschew materialism
- Curtail media
- Focus on group happiness
- Ride the highs, and lows, of parenting
- Seek gratitude
Our calling as parents doesn’t mean we have to feel happy all the time. Emotions like happiness ebb and flow throughout our lives. We would do well to remember that ourselves and to teach our children that happiness isn’t only a joyful feeling—it’s also a deliberate choice. We can choose to view our circumstances in a positive, rather than negative, light. This doesn’t make us Pollyannas, but gives us a better foundation on which to handle life’s ups and downs.
Choose this day to be happy in your parenting, despite the not-so-great times and the downright dreadful ones. You’ll find much joy amid the sorrow, much pleasure amid the pain, and much happiness amid the contentment.
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