Children: Hope For Our Future
When I became a parent, one of my “hopes” was that I could help my children be the best they could be, to obtain great happiness in all areas of their life.
We are filled with hopes for our children and hope that they are successful and happy. There doesn’t seem to be any parent who does not hope their child is happy.
Thich Nhat Hanh says that hope is actually an obstacle. It is based on a future notion –that something better will arrive . It keeps us from thoroughly enjoying what is happening in the moment.
I think of this and wonder if in many ways this is true. We “hope” our children will be happy, but are we doing anything about it now to ensure that they are? I don’t mean buying them an endless supply of things on their “I want” list. When our child tells us they don’t want to continue with baseball, do we listen or do we make them stick it our because we “hope” one day they will realize how good they are at it, or how they can get a scholarship?
We ‘hope” our children are happy, so we plan many activities, sign them up for many sports, yet when they are upset or do not want to go to practice, we make them go anyway. We “hope” one day they’ll learn how important it is to honor their commitments. But they aren’t the ones committing.
Maybe in our hopes that they do a little better than us, we plan a lot for them, just in case.
Maybe the best we can do for them is to thoroughly enjoy our now and let them do the same. If WE want to enjoy a sport – it’s not too late! There are places for us to live out our childhood dreams of playing baseball, or tennis or dancing, singing.
If they want to try out some different activities, that’s cool. There are many outlets for this that do not require them to commit for a lifetime nor be in Olympic-style training.
Teaching our children that true happiness lies within – it is not something you will ever achieve in totality from some thing or some event. It is a connection with something bigger than yourself and a sense that you are completely, magically “whole” just because you exist. If we give them the “keys” to happiness now, we won’t ever have to hope for happiness in the future.
It will simply take care of itself.