Sunday, January 6, 2008

Happiness Comes From Humility, Service & Purpose

This is a small part of a great interview found at Zenit. Author and teen-health expert Doctor Meg Meeker is being interviewed. Meeker has practiced pediatric and adolescent medicine, as well as teen counseling. She has written a book entitled, "Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters: 10 Secrets Every Father Should Know," by Regnery Publishing.

Meeker: One of the greatest mistakes that parents make in their kids is a misunderstanding of what happiness and joy is in their kids. Parents just want their kids to be happy, but they perceive incorrectly that it comes from receiving pleasure, so when children receive, receive, receive, happiness does not come, resulting in a lot of unhappy kids.
Despite our material wealth, depression rates have never been so high. Clearly we are missing something. Parents
have been duped. What works is when we teach kids to serve, to look beyond themselves. Real joy and happiness comes when kids understand that they have a purpose in life, and a mission to fulfill. The only way to get them to understand this is to look beyond self and doing good for others.
This is the source of real transformation, but this can't happen without humility, the opposite of which is pride. When parents instill humility, a kid understands that he or she is important, and lovable, but not separate from others in their humanity. If a kid really wants to feel good about himself, humility brings people closer, whereas pride separates.
A kid raised without humility will always strive to be better than others, smarter than others, but can only bring a frustrated "happiness" because no one can always be the best at everything.
True happiness for kids, then, is to give them a purpose to fulfill through working, striving,
giving to and for others.

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