When you ask parents about their future hopes for their kids, you’ll hear words like happy, secure, and self-confident. Those are nice sentiments, but not guarantees. But what makes that kind of adult? A childhood filled with trophies and good grades? A life in the country, far away from the crime-ridden city? Enriching pastimes like travel and music? The truth is, not one of these things predicts later happiness.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t encourage children to study and excel; having parents who value knowledge makes a difference. The important qualities, however, aren’t external, they’re internal. Psychologist Dr Edward Hallowell says to feel secure, your children need to develop two crucial skills:
(1) The ability to overcome adversity.
(2) The capacity to sustain joy.
He says, ‘Life is full of disappointments. Only by failing the first time and learning to try, try, and try again will a person get the most out of their abilities.’ But how do you teach your kids to be joyful in the face of adversity? There’s only one way to do it: introduce them to the source of joy.’
Isaiah said, ‘My soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation.’ (Isaiah 61:10 NIV)
David said, ‘In Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.’ (Psalm 16:11 ESV)
Jeremiah said, ‘Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart.’ (Jeremiah 15:16 NASB)
God never promised us a life without problems, but His Word says, ‘The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives… joy.’ (Galatians 5:22 NLT)