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I was sitting in my car waiting on my youngest to get out of school when that new song came on. You know, the one about the singer wanting some nebulous person to be "happier". Well I hate to say that song majorly rubs me the wrong way for some reason. It has since I first heard it. I am not complaining about the artist or his composition, it is the phrasing and meaning behind the song that has always stung like salt. And I just figured out why.
The accompanying video to this popular song depicts a lonely child at her party who is gifted a dog by her father for her birthday. The dog and her grow up until the dog passes away when the child is in her teens. This process is repeated with her daughter when the lady is grown and the grandfather is shown gifting a puppy to his grand daughter.
So before people get upset stating that I dislike the song that is not the case. I would love to yell back at the song that you physically cannot be responsible for someone else's happiness, especially your kids. This is a lesson that I learned the hard way. And that is what bugs me. I actually think the storyline is pretty good, but watching the video, I know the inevitable heartache is coming in the dog's death.
From the time our little one's heartbeat is detected by a doppler, we are hardwired to protect and see to that tiny person's needs. Somehow the feelings of happiness and contentment get mixed in with other base needs we fulfill as parents until we lump in happiness as one of our protective instincts. It is not. And it is the hardest lesson to learn.
Just like the above picture, every parent wants happiness for their kids. The problem lies not with the wish of happiness for our kids, but thinking we can fill that emotional need with things, events, or animals. One of the hardest things to do as parents is watch your kids struggle with base emotions, wishing there was a easy solution to smooth everything over and get the kids "happy" again.
What we, as parents, can do is offer our children a safe place to freely discuss their emotions. Whether good or bad, it is important to listen to our kids air their thoughts. We can stay calm in the face of upset kids and offer a soothing demeanour (even if we feel like crying right along with them). And we can accept our own feelings of inadequacy in regards to how we can not control our kids happiness.
Listen, from my own experience with two kids, a child's lack of true happiness due to issues the child is facing can easily suck the happiness from your day. After all, you hate to see your child miserable and it is a base need to step in and help. But, if you present a calm front and they see you happy and content despite issues they are facing, your kids will become more self reliant in regards to their emotions and choose happiness as a key ingredient in their emotional makeup more often.
Take heart fellow parents, caregivers, and guardians. Kids are the greatest blessing and deepest worry we will ever have. We may not be able to give our kid's happiness, but we can instill so many other values that can help ease a troubled mind when they hit a patch of unhappiness such as: work ethic, sense of self, integrity, and confidence so that they can one day achieve inner happiness.