Stop Telling Kids They Deserve Happiness & Do This Instead – EpicPew

Stop Telling Kids They Deserve Happiness & Do This Instead

We love our children and want them to be happy, but are we hurting them in the long run with good intentions?

You hear it all the time, “I just want them to be happy.”

Happy when? Now? Later in life? What about for eternity?

If given the choice, most of us—anyone who believes in eternal life—would choose eternal happiness for our children. But eternal happiness doesn’t sprout from a life of only good feelings here on earth.

Does anyone “deserve” happiness?

If we want something, we as adults know we need to work for it. Since Adam and Eve were sent from the Garden, humans have had to toil for success. The notion that something should be handed to one who doesn’t work never leads anywhere good.

“All fall short,” Paul tells us in Romans 3:23.

“Let the one who is without sin cast the first stone,” Jesus said in John 8:7.

Truly, if we deserved happiness, if we deserved heaven, we wouldn’t need a Savior. We need Him precisely because we don’t deserve Him. We fall short. We’re sinners all.

It’s only by His great Love and mercy that we may obtain the joys of eternal life.

The dangers of entitlement (and presumption)

Now, don’t get me wrong. We want to encourage joy for our children, but we want to do so righteously. We can’t give them everything they want and we shouldn’t.

If Junior wants a puppy, we weigh the expense and the ability to learn responsibility first. If we go out and buy the puppy and do all the work for him, he’ll only know the joy of getting whatever he wants.

If our precious princess wants the big dollhouse, we might encourage her to make room by donating toys and saving up some of her own money. She’ll appreciate the effort once her reward comes and realize that hard work does pay off when done right.

If we’re handing over toys and treats outside of Christmas and birthdays, with no reason and with no strings attached, we’re opening the door to the dangers of entitlement. Our children will expect to get what they want whenever they want it and throw a meltdown when they’re disappointed.

Imagine adults with that entitled attitude running the world. Can you? It’s a dangerous notion and it’s presenting this way in several places. The best we can do is raise our children better.

But how?

Gratitude over pleasure

It’s not easy when we’re raising kids against the grain of society. We need to start small and young. We can get excited over the smallest of things.

“Look! It’s beautiful and sunny today!”

“I found the coolest rock!”

“We worked hard and got to finish chores early! Let’s play a game!”

Teach them to thank people, everyone in every way they can. Teach them to be joyful over small things and give thanks to God more than anything or anyone else (1 Thes 5:18).

When they want more or forget to be grateful, draw them back. Anyone with children knows this happens easily. They receive and they want to receive again. When they don’t get what they want, they get upset.

Acknowledge their sadness or anger, but move on. Don’t cave. Do. Not. Cave. A simple acknowledgment and reminder of the point is enough. You don’t need to convince them at the moment. They can process on their own with the tools you’ve given them.

“I see you’re upset, but we’re not at the store for toys today. I can put that on your Christmas list or you can save your money.” No more need be said (unless managing a tantrum and you need to isolate said kiddo.)

True joy

Honestly, we’re Catholic and we know true joy comes only from the Lord.

“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of food and drink, but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Romans 14:17

We may want to shower our children with gifts and satisfy their every need, but we’d be missing out on the greatest need: getting to heaven.

Teaching them gratitude and perseverance is a far greater gift and one that leads them to Christ. They will grow into adults who know joy from life and not from things of this world. They will grow humble, work hard, and be grateful.

This world is filled with entitlement and messages that people deserve happiness. How much better would it be if it were filled with humility instead?

Let’s start at home and raise humble, grateful, and faithful children ready to be fit for heaven.

Featured Image: Pixabay. Free for commercial use. No attribution required.