Our children’s happiness

I just want my child to be happy." Parents say this so often that it has become an accepted explanation for why a child is doing something other than what the parents would have hoped. And, in one sense, it seems straightforward, particularly when we consider the alternative. Do we want our children to be unhappy? Depressed? Discouraged?

Perhaps, however, the mantra has simply become a distortion that masks what we really ought to want for our children. Why should the alternative be cast in terms of happiness or unhappiness, especially in an era when we have made the pursuit of happiness such a shallow and commercial enterprise?

What if we expected parents to say, "I just want my child to be faithful"? How might that shift our expectations of parenting, and of what we hope for from our children?

 

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