I love Pharrell Williams’ song “Because I’m Happy”. It’s an upbeat, catchy tune, and you have to love the videos of all those people dancing.
But… in real life, there’s way too much emphasis on our kids striving to be happy. It just breaks your heart when they’re sad or disappointed, doesn’t it? And yet, it’s inevitable. As much as you’d like to, you can’t prevent it. We all know there is unpleasantness in life. In fact, you’d probably admit that those difficult times made you stronger. But back to your kids. if you can’t control it, what is your role? You have the power to guide them through it when the inevitable happens. This is the greatest gift of all. Let’s take a closer look.
There’s a crazy belief, and it spread like wildfire, that kids must be happy all the time, that it’s not okay to be feeling whatever is… well, the opposite. Trophies for the winning and losing teams, intervening with teachers, offering food and ‘things’ to compensate for loss, saying ‘yes’ when you ought to say ‘no’, encouraging them to be upbeat when they’re sad… they don’t bring true happiness (whatever that word means).
I, too, have been guilty of saying to my kids, “I just want you to be happy.” Of course I want them to be happy. But if there’s one thing I know I can’t guarantee for them, it’s that.
Then what is your job in the drama of their lives?
Your job is… to hold their hand when they’re miserable.
Your job is… to walk with them through sadness and disappointment.
Your job is… to express confidence that they can get through it.
Your job is… to help them figure out how to bounce back.
Your job is… to guide them in finding healthy ways to cope.
Your job is… to be their parent.