If you had to write a list of top 10 wishes for your child, what would they be? I would like to place bets that somewhere at the very top of that list, would be 'Happiness' - above money or success, and above popularity or love. Ultimately, we want our children to be happy.
If we're honest, I think the eternal quest for happiness is on all of our agendas, but once we have children the search becomes even more paramount. As most of my regular readers know, I'm a Christian. With this in mind, I do believe that total happiness cannot be found unless we are truly 'right' with God, however I do think we can take practical steps to being happy. Twice last week, I came across a small clue as to how to find it....
The first was found in the most unlikely of places - watching Saturday morning TV and an interview with Gyles Brandreth (told you it was unlikely!). Gyles has recently written a book called '7 Secrets of Happiness' and whilst I cannot advocate his book and was only really half listening to his witterings (apologies Gyles), I did hear him mention the word 'passion' - in Gyles' opinion, we need to find a passion in life in order to find true happiness.
On occasion I listen to podcasts of sermons from various churches around the world (just one of the reasons why I love modern technology!). Last week I was listening to a man named Darren Whitehead speak at Willow Creek Church in Chicago. He was speaking about families and what makes a great parent. Being a dad of very young children, he didn't feel particularly qualified to speak on this subject, admitting this his kids haven't really had a chance to test him to the limit yet! He did however pick out a number of points which he had noticed were present in every one of the friends whose parenting skills he admires. One of these was encouraging their children to follow a passion. There's that word again - passion.
Football is a sport I have managed to avoid thus far. Horror stories of muddy boots, freezing toes and an inbox flooded with email messages to organise the next game, sent shivers down my spine! But at almost 9 years of age, I couldn't deny my son's wish any longer: "I would just love to play for a proper football team" - his words to me a mere few weeks ago. So I put some feelers out, in an attempt to find a local team who didn't play their matches on a Sunday and were looking for new players.
Last Friday, I had the privilege of watching my son train for his first ever league football match. Yes it was a little chilly (note to self: purchase warm fluffy boots and a set of thermals) and I did turn to twitter for amusement on occasion, but watching my son's enthusiasm and determination on the pitch, was an absolute joy. He knew that he wanted to play this sport and his passion was evident.
Then on Saturday, the best moment arrived - his team not only won their league match but my boy returned home proudly wearing a medal which he had been awarded for 'best effort'. I think my son may have just found his 'passion'.
What do you think of this notion that happiness can be found through following a passion? Do you think we should be encouraging this in our children? Perhaps your children are passionate about something you aren't keen on.....I would love to hear your views.
PS Sorry to disappoint those who were hoping this title meant something else ;)