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Raising Kids to Become Happy Adults

Wouldn’t it be great if our children grew up to be adults who knew how to smile? What if, instead of being pessimistic or irritable, they were joyful and friendly? What if they viewed life like a glass that is “half full,” rather than “half empty”?

While the personalities of some children may lean more towards a happy demeanor, it’s my conjecture that kids (at least partly) develop their disposition from their environment at home. Especially as they watch their parents do life. Which means, we moms have an influence!

Depending on your personality, you may or may not be encouraged when you admit your demeanor will impact your kids. But regardless, it’s not too late to be the right kind of example.

Is This a Worthy Goal?

Some of you may rightly ask, “Is raising joyful kids really all that important?” Well, it’s not the most important thing – but biblically speaking, joy is a good thing.

When I consider why I should have joy,  I think of lots of reasons:

  • I know the good news of Jesus Christ!
  • I’ve been saved from my sins!
  • God is growing me to be more like his Son!
  • I get to spend eternity with God!
  • God can use my life for his purposes!

…And those are just the basics! As Christians we have every reason to be full of joy, even in the midst of a dark world. We should agree with the Psalmist when he says,  “Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!” (Psalm 32:11)

If this is an appropriate disposition for us, it should be something we want for our kids! Furthermore, it should be something we exemplify for our kids!

The Method

“More is caught than taught,” they say.  Our children will likely learn much more by watching us in daily life vs. any lesson we seek to teach them.  It is time we give them some joyfulness to “catch.”

There is no doubt – a thankful, optimistic, happy, friendly demeanor will be noticed by our kids.

So wake up, spend some time thanking God for the good things in your life, and then have a good attitude as you go about your day! When you drive with your kids, make a point to speak of the beauty you see. Train their eyes to notice God’s creation and the good things around them. Make friendliness your norm. Be someone who says “thank you” a lot. Make a habit of saying, “Isn’t is cool that God …” (fill in with anything that shows God’s kindness). All throughout your day, look for ways to point out the blessings surrounding you.

Hopefully, as we seek to be shining examples of women who are beaming with joy, our children will one day follow suit! [And it’s worth noting that kids can catch on quite quick! I’m sure you’ve noticed them mimic your sassy or complaining tone…thankfully, they can learn to copy your more godly responses to life too!]

The Success Rate

There is no guarantee how your kids will turn out in the long run.  But here is a biblical principle that reminds us our efforts make a difference:  Proverbs 13:20 says “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” We typically think about friends when we read this proverb (and that is a direct application), but who spends more time with a kid (especially a young kid) than his parents? So you are who your kids are especially “walking” with. The question is, what kind of influence are you having? Are you radiating the kind of joy a Christian should have, or are you busy about your business with a “blah” demeanor? What are they learning about joyfulness by watching you?

Let’s show our kids what it looks like to be “the glass is half full” kinds of people as we intentionally radiate joy! Lord willing, they will follow suit sooner or later.


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