10.11.2012

On Being Happy


If I told you I don't want my kids to be "happy" in life, would you look at me a little sideways? Think, what kind of mother says that about her children? Surely I must be joking. But see, I'm not. 

Do I want them to be happy in general? Sure. It's not like I want my kids to be miserable and suffer their entire lives. But is that all I want them to be? Just happy?

No.

A lot of self-righteous jerks are "happy."

I've heard people say "the only thing they wish for their children is happiness." And I know it's said with good intentions, but for me, I wish much, much more than happiness for my kids.

So what do I wish for them?

I wish my boys pain. I want them to skin their knee sliding into third base. I want them to experience the loss of a pet. I want their first girlfriend to break their heart. I want them to be told by some asshole coach that they aren't good enough. I want them to lose out on a dream internship because they didn't put in enough effort. I want all of these things for them so that they know life isn't fair. There will be disappointments and sadness. I want them to know without a doubt that nothing ever comes free, and I want them to know the power of hard work. 

I wish my boys suffering. I pray to God it isn't in the form of sickness or disaster, but in a way that makes them stronger. No worthy success ever came without some form of suffering. I want them to suffer through the hardest parts of their life, I want them to endure the suffering so completely that when they make it out, they can look back and feel like they can handle anything the world throws at them. One of my favorite quotes about this subject is from a wise man named Kahlil Gibran, where he said "Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars." I want my boys to have scars.

I wish my boys struggling. I don't want anything to come easy for them. I don't ever want them to think they can coast on their parents' success. If I've said it once I've said it a million times: even if we become millionaires (not likely), our boys will not get a huge inheritance. They will have to make their own way in life. Will we help them out here and there in small ways? Of course. But I want my boys to know that the only way to success is by hard work.

I wish my boys perseverance. When that asshole coach tells them they aren't good enough? I want them to dig deep inside and push harder. I want them to know that they are in control of their own destiny, and no one can tell them what they can and cannot do. When they fall hard, I want them to get up harder. I want my boys to never take no for an acceptable answer. 

I wish my boys humility. I want my boys to know that no matter how good they are, there is always someone out there who is better. I never want them to think they are the "star" of a team, because without their team, they are useless. I want them to appreciate being at the very top, because I want them to know that at any moment, they can fall to the bottom. I want them to know that they can always learn from someone else, and that they are never done learning. And I want them to know they are powerless without God. 

I wish my boys respect. I don't care if they are the last ones on Earth who think it's important, they had better always open doors for women and the elderly. Listen in courtesy to people in authority. You may not always agree, but listen anyway. Always take your baseball hat off when the national anthem is sung and while you're at it, put your damn hand on your heart. 

I wish my boys empathy. I want them to be able to put themselves in other peoples shoes. I want them to know that the people who seem to deserve it the least, need love the most. 

I wish my boys influence. I want them to inspire others. I want them to bring people up. I want them to be the ones who stand up for the person being bullied. I want people to look at my boys and strive to live their lives the same way. I want the words that come out of their mouths to count. I want them to be a leader and to lead people to the light. 

And finally, I wish my boys happiness. Yes, I want my boys to know happiness beyond measure. I want their hearts to be filled with so much joy that it feels like it might burst. I want them to laugh hard and often. I want them to have a spouse, kids, grandkids, great grandkids and to have an overflowing table come Thanksgiving. I want them to live a life so when they are on their last minutes here on Earth, they can look back at all the years and know they were spent well. To know they were spent with honor and integrity. That all their pain, suffering and struggling wasn't wasted. 

THAT is the kind of happiness I wish on my children. 


66 comments

  1. I absolutely love this post. It's so true. I wish the same for my daughter, I never want her to think that she is better than anyone, can get by without trying her absolute best and like you said, suffering and pain make the most beautiful souls. This is a great child rearing philosophy. People now a days are so hung up on making their kids' lives easy... that's not what life is about.

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  2. This is one of the reasons I love you so much. This is a great post. I hope when I have children I can look back on this post because I pray all those same things for them. : )

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  3. I wish I could just copy and paste this. You put into words what I can't. This is so wonderfully written, and so true. Every child should have a parent(s) that feel this way. Our generation is so focused on just giving our kids things, that we forget that we aren't creating very responsible or healthy adults. You summed up the kind of parent I hope I am to my daughter. This says a lot about you as a mom :)

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  4. OMG!!!! I could print this and give this to my three boys! You said it word for word!!! You are an awesome mom and those boys are lucky to have you!

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  5. I love this. When I have kids, you're totally coming to Minneapolis to teach me the ways of your world girl! ...okay, maybe that is a little extreme and I can likely teach them myself, but it is nice to know that I am not the only one in the world who still feels like hard work and respect make a person.

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  6. This is absolutely beautiful! The suffering and letdowns in life are what makes us all humble, compassionate, and real. Great post!

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  7. Your posts about your boys make me not be able to wait to have little boys of my own. This was so sweet and I completely agree with every topic you touched on. There are too many kids in the world who get everything handed to them, who learn no respect for others and who are being taught this whole "everybody wins, everybody gets a trophy" bullshit, 15th place does not deserve a trophy. And parents need to teach their kids that you don't always win. Some parents are truly setting their kids up for failure because that's not how real life happens.

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  8. LOVE this post, Raven!!! This is one of the many reasons I love you....I love when you write about your boys. Such great words and so very true, you are one great mama and those boys have a great example in you!

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  9. I actually got a little teary eyed. This by far is the BEST post I have read from you. I AGREE 100% on what you wrote. I commend you on being completely honest and I loved every word. I too hope that my son lives by these values. Thank you.

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  10. This post melts my heart. Very well written God bless your family :)

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  11. I love this post! I 100% agree and it is so well written..

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  12. BTW, if you dont mind, can I tag this to my FB page and have all my friends read it? Its that good.

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  13. well written - but the letter you linked back to nearly had be in tears. Very well written.

    (I love the picture of hubby shielded the sun with his hand - portrays such a great image)

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  14. Fuck yes, I love the shit out of this post. If only all men were raised like this, damn!

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    1. Geez, Whitney,why don't you use a few words of profanity??!! Totally unnecessary to make your point.

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  15. I wish there were more mamas like you. We'd be surrounded with better men if there were.

    LoveyouBIGGG

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  16. Love! Love! Love!!! You've just said what every mother in America wants to say but is too scared to say because "OMG, you don't want your kids to be happy" Thank you Raven. You rock my socks!!!

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  17. Oh. I like you. Yes I do.

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  18. LOVE THIS POST!

    That is all.

    :)

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  19. Damn you Raven! You've gone and messed up my mascara this morning. This was beautiful and truly perfect.

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  20. Love love love! I don't think parents think enough about this. Of course we all want to be happy, but how can you know true happiness if you also don't know sadness?

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  21. Seriously. Your awesome. I love this and couldn't agree more!!!

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  22. This post is amazing. I think not enough parents (obviously, look at all of the little jerk kids out there) put emphasis on hard work and respecting others. I think having only boys puts this into perspective a little more. My boyfriend came from a family of 4 boys (no girls) and they worked outside, they helped their dad build their house, they love their mama and they all treat women with respect and are all GOOD boys because of it. I read something somewhere in an interview with Bill Gates and I really respect how he raises his kids. He said they each only get a small inheritance and the only thing he will pay for when they are 18 is college and healthcare/any health related expenses. Nothing else. If they want something, get a job and work for it. Too many parents throw money at their kids and they stay at home forever, they are jerks and feel so entitled. Good for you for knowing what it takes to show your kids that life is hard and sorry, but survival of the fittest. You have to work for what you want, no one is going to give it to you. Your boys will be amazing men.

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  23. This is so true in every single way. I wish more parents thought this way! Raising your children to think they walk on water is the worst possible thing you can do. Hard work, kindness and respect are the building blocks for an amazing life. Your boys are so lucky to have you!!

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  24. I got goose bumps and a little choked up. Your posts don't usually do that to me. You are amazing and I have no doubt your kids will grow up striving to uphold all of your values and life lessons. Powerful words.

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  25. Ah raven. You are brilliant. This is such a wonderful post. It's all so true. Life doesn't come easy & it's so great you're brining your children up this way. They are so lucky to have a mom like you. I REALLY love that quote. I totally agree. I had a lot of suffering high school-college & I def feel after allllll of it I can tackle anything!!!! Love love love!!! & love you!

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  26. Fantastic post!! I don't have kids yet, but this is the kind of philosophy I will adhere to with my future children. I've actually been working on a blog post about how this whole "I only do things that make me happy" worldview is destroying our generation. It's SUCH a selfish attitude to take...some of the best things in life are the things that come the hardest.

    Your boys are lucky to have you two as parents. :)

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  27. You are SUCH a good Mom :)

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  28. This post is amazing. I have new perspective on the heartaches, pitfalls, and bulling my child is surely to endure during her lifetime. Thanks!

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  29. This one actually had me teary-eyed (not that it takes much but... it's sweet) and I'm not even a mom... yet. Hopefully some day my husband and I will have kids. I'd wish all of the above things for our possible future kids too.

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  30. i read you blog for your wit and sarcasm or charm whatever you want to call it. Then you pull a Sensitive Susan on me and I LOVE your blog even more. Beautifully written

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  31. BEST POST EVERRRR!!!! As always you rock my socks!
    P.S. Did you see my cardigan picture I posted on instagram for you? haha

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  32. BEAUTIFUL.

    your boys are quite lucky to have you as their mom.. and your husband? god help him.



    i'm kidding, of course :P

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  33. Not gonna lie, I almost cried reading this. Very beautifully written.

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  34. This is an amazing post! I absolutely love it.

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  35. <3 it. You are a beautiful writer mama.

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  36. this is just it! parents have kids and they WANT to spoil them. they think it's cute. that they are doing their kids a favor. not only are they DISGUSTING and UNBEARABLE. but - they are NOT DOING THEIR KID ANY FAVORS. They are only setting them up for disappointment. Real life comes with pain and suffering, and it's how we learn to have sympathy for others and not be selfish assholes. It's mind blowing to me. These are your children. Not your pet puppy. Well said!

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  37. You have it so right, Raven. You are an amazing mother and your boys are going to grow up into amazing men!

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  38. This is amazing Raven! Love it!

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  39. I don't have kids yet, but I have a feeling that I'll be wishing these same things for my kids when I do. Thanks for the post! :)

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  40. yay! those boys are the best! I hope they do grow up to be respectful towards adults-yes like you said not always agree with them but be respectful. I see too many disrespectful brats these days.

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  41. Beautiful post Raven and so true!!

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  42. This is amazing Raven. So perfectly put!

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  43. You are incredible. And your boys will grow up to be amazing, heartfelt, strong individuals because of you. I pray more mothers start thinking like you!!

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  44. Raven, you are a rare gem. :) And just allow me to say....that I'm SO thankful that my parents feel/felt the same way you do and raised me the way you are raising and plan on raising your sons. I've also felt the FRUSTRATION that comes along with being around people who weren't raised this way....my husband's parents obviously found no value in ANY of the above listed morals, and sometimes it's maddening. I'm workin' on him, though. And one day...your sons' spouses' will THANK you. Hopefully by giving you some liquor, right? ;)

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  45. Lot's of wisdom coming up in this next generation. Thanks for being Raven!

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  46. such a awesome post! i never thought about it this way.

    the sweet life of a southern wife

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  47. EXACTLY! Nicely said love! This is how we feel about raising our sprouts.
    We don't want a bunch of spoiled wussies running around!
    "If we wanted two wussies, we would have named them Dr. Quinn and Medicine Woman!"
    #namethemovie

    Kristine The Foley Fam {unedited} Blog

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  48. And this is how my Mama raised me ;)
    Great post!!

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  49. Yes. This is amazing and spot on. You get it!

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  50. *Tear* This is very soulful and very true. Love you!!

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  51. beautiful, I love when you pour your heart out... it's is always so real.

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  52. beautiful, I love when you pour your heart out... it's is always so real.

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  53. Raven, this is beautiful! I do not have kids yet, but this is exactly how I feel... Kids should experience all the things you mentioned to make them good people, knowledgeable, and grounded. Love love love this!!!

    Xo
    Brandi

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  54. Your freaking sappy ass just had to go and make me tear up. Bitch. But on the real, beautifully written post filled with a lot of wisdom. My parents taught me these same things and I think I turned out pretty damn decent. But hey, that's just one girl's opinion. Peace, Love, and Fish Whistles.

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  55. Raven, if i loved you before, i love you even more now. this post needs to be published. this is what good mother should wish for her children. i hope that when the time comes, I'm half the mother that you are.

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  56. How do you have so much wisdom? :) Hugs! I felt all of these things too, when my oldest was young. My life was far from perfect then and still is. I know that I had a wonderful little boy and that I was a wonderful mother to him. I pray that my oldest will eventually get ANY of these things that you wrote about, these things that somehow I've failed to instill in him. Basically, I have (somehow) raised a complete a**hole of a son. And now, I'm praying that I will do better with my younger two, as now only my 17 yr old has control of who he becomes. Let us pray. Thanks for the post. I shall read it daily.

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  57. I just love you! So true :).

    - Talia
    rubytiaradiaries.blogspot.com

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  58. I totally agree. As the mother of a son on a high school football team where the asshole coaches don't even remember his name, I can speak from experience that it is GUT WRENCHING. Tears my heart out. But it's necessary. I want him to learn how to make a goal and ACHIEVE it. Life is not fair. And sometimes you have to run harder and faster than others.

    I wrote a whole blog post about it here. http://www.momma-candy.com/2014/01/why-im-supporting-my-sons-football.html

    Without the hardest NOs, you don't ever understand the beauty of how good YES can feel.

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