It’s complicated. Your children think, feel, analyze, imagine, worry, debate, empathize and perceive more than average kiddos. That’s life in the rainforest mind. MOREness.
And, with super high standards, high expectations and a tendency to keep raising the bar, there’s not much time to appreciate an accomplishment before they’re onto the next thing. Add to that a tendency toward self-criticism due to an innate desire for excellence and an ability to notice and remember, for all eternity, every tiny mistake. This is not what happiness looks like.
Not to mention, curiosity and interests in, well, everything, so that your children are in constant motion gobbling up every intellectually appealing thing in sight. Is there time for happiness? Maybe not. Too busy gobbling.
Of course, yes, your children will experience happiness. But it’s not that simple. They will likely feel glee and zeal and despair and rage. Maybe all in the same day. The same hour. They can feel excitement, guilt, existential depression, enthusiasm and anxiety. And happiness, yes. But it may not be the simple, peaceful, one-size-fits-all variety of happiness.*
And, that’s OK. The way it should be. Maybe happiness is over-rated. Perhaps we ought to aim for something else. Curiosity. Gratitude. Occasional Irrepressible Glee.
So, next time your in-laws ask you why your children aren’t happy, you can tell them, “We’re not aiming for happiness, doncha know. Pfft. That is soooo 20th century. Curiosity, gratitude and occasional irrepressible glee are the new happiness.”
To my bloggEEs: What do you think about happiness? For your kids? For yourself? Let us know your thoughts, feelings and questions. And thank you, as always, for being here. Just a friendly reminder: MY BOOK will be available around June 27. Details are here. And I’ll be talking about it online in July at Intergifted.
*Note: If you have a male child or if you are a male, all of this may be even more complicated by the societal rules against sensitivity and emotional expression in boys and men. But that’s a whole other blog post.