How can parents encourage their children to seek joy instead of happiness?
From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
Q: The generations that followed the greatest generation have been trained by society to seek fun, leisure, and satisfy every whim at an instant. We are even seeing how many of them want to enjoy the benefits of hard work without earning a dollar. This is leading them into things that are empty and fake. How can parents today encourage their young adult children to seek joy instead of happiness? – C.P.
A: There is a little voice inside us that seems to whisper: “We were not meant to be this way—we were meant for better things.”
We have a mysterious feeling that there is a fountain somewhere that contains the happiness that makes life worthwhile. We keep saying to ourselves that somewhere, sometime we will stumble onto the secret. Sometimes we feel that we have obtained it—only to find it illusive, leaving us bewildered, unhappy, and still searching.
There are two kinds of happiness. One comes when our circumstances are pleasant, free from trouble. But this kind of happiness is fleeting. Inevitably, good times come to an end and happiness evaporates. The second kind of happiness is what we really long for; the realization that we have inner joy and peace no matter what comes our way. Surprisingly, this comes during times of adversity, for this is when we grow stronger.
The happiness that brings enduring worth to life is not the superficial happiness dependent on circumstances. It is the contentment that fills the soul in the midst of distressing circumstances and the most adverse environment. The happiness for which our souls ache is one undisturbed by success or failure, one that dwells deep within us and gives inward peace no matter what the surface problems may be. This is the peace that comes from God alone and we must seek Him through His word. There we find the secret to true joy.
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)
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