Lessons of a new parent. #1: Happiness by Misha Lyuve

Mar 27, 2014

You can speak to your children of life,
But your words are not life itself…
Don’t mistake your desire to talk for their readiness to listen.
Far more important are the wordless truths they learn from you

“The Parent’s Tao Te Ching”, William Martin

Lesson #1 – Happiness: If you have at least a small interest in your child’s happiness, be a happy person yourself.

I always treated my personal happiness and satisfaction as something indulgent and selfish, pertaining only to me.

One day I was upset about something. It was time to start feeding one of my daughters. I sat down holding her and watched her hungrily latching on to the nipple of the bottle. About half-way through her meal, I saw that I was still upset and many “frustrated” thoughts were rolling inside my head in circles. And then I noticed how my frustration was floating from my head down into my arm, from my arm into the bottle and from the bottle right into her little mouth. And this all while my heart, soaked in anger and disappointment, was pulsing against her little head. This observation was awakening.

At that exact moment it became unequivocally clear that my happiness or unhappiness for that matter doesn’t belong only to me. My personal happiness, fulfillment and peace had much bigger impact than I ever imagined.

Shortly after gaining this understanding, I watched an interview with Osho “If People Are Happy Nobody Can Drag Them Into a War”. Osho talked about a generation of parents that lived sacrificing their happiness for their children. Those children learned how to sacrifice, but not how to be happy. And the martyrdom went on and on, and at the end NO ONE got to be happy.

This comes down to a very simple truth – if you want your kid to know how to be happy, you have to become an embodiment of fulfillment, life satisfaction and joy yourself. Let’s not underestimate the task: happiness is not a state in which most humans find themselves naturally at a snap of their fingers. But it doesn’t mean it is not available. By the way, The Slight Edge, a book by Jeff Olson I recently read, has some practical ways of applying discipline and conscious living to make happiness into a daily practice.

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