When I saw this quote from Thomas Bray, I knew I had found a way to talk about emotions and feelings and how they are a part of a magical childhood. Childhood is not just ways to play and learn about the surrounding world, it’s also ways to discover the inner world of the heart and how to play and connect with others.
As a child, it is more than wonderful to feel loved and understood. Happiness does not mean there are never any challenges or concerns; it means that parents are there for both encouragement and support. Children have freedom to explore and can take risks because they feel secure that those caring for them have acceptable limits and boundaries. Happiness is not a wealth of toys but a richness of caring.
In an article on Teaching Your Child the Art of Happiness, Dr. Laura Markham says happiness is less a result of luck and more a product we create. She gives steps to helping children learn to manage their moods, by acknowledging and allowing the feelings, then perhaps changing or shifting them. Being optimistic and grateful are important and so are having fun and celebrating. There will be times of sadness and grief and we need to leave space in our lives for that too. “Choosing to be happy doesn’t mean repressing our feelings. It means acknowledging and honoring our feelings, and then letting them go.” Cue the lyrics: Let it go, let it go…
Perhaps, we could modify Thomas Bray’s quote, “Never fear spoiling children by making them too happy. Happiness is the atmosphere in which all good affections grow,” to be “Never fear spoiling children by making them too happy. Happiness is the atmosphere in which CHILDREN grow.” How do you help your child to be happy?