Terri, “Learn to laugh. At times we get too busy, and stressed out, to just stop and find the humor in parenting. It can be pretty fun.” Tip 4
What struck me most about Terri’s experience is our shared focused on happiness! When Terri stated her main goal was to ensure her son’s happiness, I couldn’t agree more.
I think often, parents are focused on competition, education, careers, and “keeping up with the Kardashians.” Of course, those elements may contribute to happiness; but are not synonymous with happiness.
Happiness is under-rated.
How can a kid be happy in an unpredictable environment? When they are hungry? Afraid? Lonely? Alone? There is so much involved in building a happy home, especially when you’re not sure what happy homes look like.
I believe we can give our children all things, and happiness can still elude them. If we don’t identify it, facilitate and work to create it, with direct attention, it will not occur.
I had firm rules around most things, and some non-negotiable. In my writing, I may have inadvertently painted a picture that our home was not a happy place, with all my rules and expectations; quite the contrary.
Our home was, and still is, a very happy place. We facilitated it, highlighted it, and discussed appreciation for it. I think happiness is the most important thing we can give to our kids.
I also believe “rules and expectations” give way for happiness. We upheld happiness as a focus and a goal. I emphasized it, and narrated it. I verbalized it when I saw it within us, within others, or even on TV. I initiated conversations on why it is important? If Michael felt it important? How to achieve it? How to ruin it? We discussed happiness often.
Coming from a home where happiness was forbidden, I was hyper-vigilant in creating a space for joy. It was my priority.
To me, happiness is not only laughter and giggles. Happiness is comfort, consistency, security, knowing, loving, caring, and learning. I don’t know how happiness can exist without a combination of many things.
I don’t think it is the result of toys, electronics, technology, or even travel. It isn’t lots of treats, money, and yeses. Maybe in part happiness is an absence of misery, confusion, shame?
In the early years the absence of misery was my target. After providing love and ensuring comfort, the depth of a happy life was achieved. I’d like to think happiness is a state of being, not an event or an occurrence.
Knowing my son is a happy adult, is my greatest gift. His happiness was my sole purpose, my sustaining goal. I would give it all up if it meant happiness for my boy!
To know Michael has achieved happiness, even in the face of his injury, what some might call significant and catastrophic disability, is all that matters. His happiness is everything.
I`m so proud to have broken a cycle, or three, in my parenting. I hold much satisfaction in that Michael feels no shame about his happiness. It may even be automatic. Happiness is a way of life for him. In this, my largest dream is realized!
Cheers to happiness!