(This post was written by Michael Wallace, High School Pastor)
I’ve spoken to many parents who have hopes and dreams for their kids. Rarely do I come in contact with a parent who doesn’t wish for their child to live a better life than they did. Or to drive a better car, buy a house sooner, and get to have more and do more than they did growing up. Who wouldn’t?
Unfortunately the word that is most consistent in these conversations is the word “happy.” As parents, we want our children to grow up and be happy, but how do we communicate this? If we define happy for our families as making enough money, driving the best car we can afford, and going into debt up to our eyeballs to live in a certain neighborhood, are we teaching them how to be happy? Or are we showing them that happiness is defined by what you have and not who you are?
I see it in high school students every week. They define their world based on their home. Students are beginning to make decisions on their own, but they always do it in the framework that is defined for them in their family. So, if we as parents major on the minor things in life – the stuff and status – they will too. If we are more consistent to football practice than to church or we spend money on dance lessons and then can’t afford to attend a camp experience, we are teaching them through our decisions what is most important. There’s nothing wrong with football or dance, but if we teach them that what’s most important is to chase after happy, we are setting them up for disaster!
Happy isn’t good enough. Happy is temporary and will wear off. If you want your child or student to experience the best life possible, the priority must be placed on a relationship with God and loving Him first, no matter what. I guarantee that your kids will be much more grateful for living a “blessed” life than a “happy” life any day.