I want them to learn to be grateful for what they have.
I have learned, in whatever situation I find myself, to be self-sufficient. I know indeed how to live in humble circumstances; I know also how to live with abundance. In every circumstance and in all things I have learned the secret of being well fed and of going hungry, of living in abundance and of being in need.
I have been thinking a lot about what makes us happy. Actually, I have spent a lot of time thinking about how what we say and do, what we spend our time thinking about, affects our own happiness.
My husband is very much a child at heart. He does not spend any more time than necessary -- read: than I make him -- on things that upset him. He is one of those people that really, truly can just let it go. It's like his sorrows come to him as little blue birds, and after he's done thinking about it (generally, this process takes about 5 minutes), he just sets the bird free and it flies away.
Now, I am guilty of being a generally miserable person. My sorrows come to me as anchors that hold me down in one spot until I decide to cut the chain. There is no peaceful "letting go." It's always a forceful eviction. I am incapable of not thinking about something that upsets me. I feel a sense of urgency to solve the problem, and until I've solved it, I won't stop.
Because we are so different in this respect, I have started thinking about the different influences we will have on our kiddos. And, I have realized that I want to be more like him -- both his attitude and his advice helps me cut the chains that hold me back.
He believes in me, and that helps me to believe in myself.
He wants to make me happy, and that makes me want to be happy.
He interacts with Bear and Bud so differently than I do. He truly enjoys most of the moments with them, while I typically just try to get through each minute of the day. When I see him interact with the kids, that more than anything, makes me want to be a happier person.
In his Letter to the Phillipians, Paul tells us to learn to be content in all situations, both in plenty and in want. We are not supposed to compare our current situation to the past, or covet the things we had before. Because in all cases, God has a plan for us. He has not forgotten about us. He does not punish us needlessly. Rather, we are supposed to always be learning to trust more completely in Him.
Being grateful and content with where we are at in this moment is probably the hardest thing for me. I'm a worrier, and a planner. It isn't easy for me to just accept everything as is. But, I know that in my own struggle for happiness, this is what God wants me to learn right now:
Be happy in the small moments. Like swimming in the kiddie pool with Bear, or teaching Bud to rollover. I need to learn to let those moments fill my heart, instead of trying to hurry through them to get on to the next task.
So, how do you define happiness?