How Will They Remember You?

My 9 year old daughter, Jennifer, has a real talent for saying it like it is.  You will always know what she honestly thinks about something.  Got a new hairdo?  She will be the first to say you should have saved your money.   Didn’t do such a great job with the evening family meal?  She’ll let you know.   When Jennifer talks, I always listen because I know I am getting the truth even if I might not want it.

So when we recently had this conversation, I listened.

Jennifer:  I like it when you are like this!

Me: Like what?

Jennifer: Happy.

Me:  I’m always happy?!

Jennifer:  Well not really, sometimes you’re grumpy.

And if truth be told, sometimes I am grumpy.  Whether it is because of a lack of sleep, long hours, tight deadlines, or just too much to do, there are times when I can be grumpy and less than pleasant to be around.  I know there are a lot worse things I could be as a parent and I should count my blessings if she only sees me as grumpy, but her comment did hurt a little and got me thinking.  How do my children see me?   Do they see me as the happy and fulfilled person I believe myself to be (with an occasional grumpy day thrown in) or do they see me as something else?

Providing a positive and uplifting home life for your children is one of the most important things you can do as a parent.  Children are sponges and live what they learn.  If children are raised in negative unhappy homes, chances are good they will grow up to be negative unhappy individuals.    So as parents, being personally happy and fulfilled is just as important as providing love, food, shelter, and discipline.

So as parents how do we provide our kids with positive uplifting home lives especially when we as parents aren’t feeling that way?  Here are a few suggestions to help.

Take Time to Understand and Admit Why You Aren’t Happy – Sometimes parents are living such busy lives we struggle to understand what is causing us to be unhappy.  To have any real chance of fixing the problems in our lives, we first must understand their cause, so take the time to really understand the root of your unhappiness.

Be Willing to Make Changes and Take Risks – Sometimes being happy means we need to make changes.  Let’s face it, change is hard and sometimes getting past the yeah but’s can be difficult, but to attain real happiness, change and risk is almost always required.

Have a Passion – Life is too short to spend it going through the motions of working an unfulfilling job or having no interests of your own.  Find something you’re passionate about and make it a priority to fit it into your life.  The Simple Dollar, LifeHack, and of course Oprah all have great resources to help you find your passion.

Make a Plan – As I’ve said before, there is a lot of peace in having a plan, so create a plan to make the changes necessary in your life.

Life isn’t always going to be a bed of roses and it is important not to shelter our children from all the bad.   But after they have grown and left to live their own lives, how will they remember you?  Will they remember you as happy?