“I just want my kids to be happy.”
Proverbs 28:14 Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.
Making our children happy is long sought over in the quest of parenting. The choices we make in food, fun and clothing, the discipline issues that are (or aren’t) dealt with and the techniques used thereby, and the visions in our heads of our grown, adult children usually revolve around this hope of creating happy people.
Happiness, however, in the Biblical sense of things does not have anything to do with molding adults who are healthy or well-educated or even wealthy for that matter. Children that end up with college degrees, climbing careers or McMansions on cul-de-sacs are in no wise guaranteed happiness by those things; just look around at the disengaged, angry and whiny adults around you!
Do we really want our children happy? Then methinks our focus will be on different goals and different means to those ends. Perusing the Bible finds happiness coming from:
- becoming more and more like the Lord, saved by Him and looking unto Him for help (Deut 33:29)
- a hunger for the God’s wisdom above any man-centered wisdom, which of course seems as foolishness to unrepentant people (2 Chron 9:7, Pro 3:13, Pro 3:18, 1 Cor 2:14, 1 Cor 3:19)
- a thankfulness for the trials God allows, and for God’s corrections and chastisements (Job 5:17, Ps 94:12, 1 Thes 5:18, Rev 3:19).
- allowing the Lord to build our families, understanding that the baring of children is a blessing, not a burden (Ps 127:5)
- learning to work, and to work hard (Lam 3:27, Ps 128:2). This involves creating an appetite for work and for the satisfaction that comes from a job well done. Happiness does not come from “letting kids be kids” and doing all chores around the home while their eyes and minds are quietly imbibing movie or gaming videos.
- belonging to God, trusting Him, and acknowledging Him as LORD (Ps 144:15, Pro 16:20). This means more than raising a child who simply “believes in God” as the somewhat 92% plus of adults in our country say….but do not heed.
- relying on God for help, putting hope in HIM, not in our circumstances or dreams (Ps 146:5)
- fostering a merciful attitude toward the downtrodden, the weak, the elderly, the poor (Pro 14:21)
- growing in holiness, loving God’s law and hating (yes, hating) sin as defined by God (Ps 101:3, Ps 119:128, Pro 29:18).
- maintaining a clear conscience before God (Rom 14:22)
- enduring in the faith through trial, pain and suffering (James 5:11), through the light afflictions of scorn and even the heavier weight of the terror of persecution (1 Peter 3:14), knowing that even in receiving reproach for the name of Christ, God is glorified (1 Peter 4:14)
The way I see it, much of what we think ought to be done with our children have nothing to do with these goals. If we are truly honest with wanting happiness for our children, then we must schedule and direct our days to reflect God’s goals and to seek after what HE says brings happiness.
What does this look like? Repenting of your sins first of all, and receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Then, spending ample time in God’s Word (no Bible, no breakfast; no read, no feed), reading about and supporting missionaries, seeking ways to serve others, learning to pray and to use a concordance to study the Bible (and then actually doing it), building a family with children, and teaching the young ones to work. It means that when trials and hard things arise, God’s throne is the very first place to we run to. These are the appetites we must foster in our children if happiness is truly one of our goals.
May you be blessed as you seek real, abiding happiness for your children, serving the Lord in His ways as you seek to become more like Him.
John 13:17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.