Family Leisure Time: Creating Happy Kids

by Analisa Macias (daughter of Richard and Eleanore Snogren)

As parents, we have goals and expectations of ourselves and our children. But what, really, are we expecting our children to gain from all of our parenting? What do we really want for our kids? What do they need to launch them into a successful and happy adulthood?

We want our kids to be good, smart, respectful, and happy. We want them to make us proud and to feel good about themselves. But in reality, these terms are elusive and subjective. How do you teach someone to be happy? Or good? Often teaching “respect” ends up instead teaching fear and intimidation. Smart is relative and unique to each individual.

Good and happy comes from within, it is implicit in our beings—not a personality trait. Respect for others is treating someone well and as an equal and can only come from a strong sense of self-respect. So as I ponder how to help my children develop a happy, good, smart, and respectful inner self, I often go to fearlessness.

More than anything, I want to help my kids be fearless. I don’t mean literally to feel no fear, but rather to feel unafraid of failure enough to try whatever they feel inclined to try. To give things a shot, to take initiative, to not be afraid of judgment or rejection, and to not fear not being good at something. We learn by being and by doing. And if my kids are not afraid to be and not afraid to do, then they will grow up pretty fulfilled. This will translate into a happy and respectful human being.

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