Don’t Worry, Be Happy?

Last week I was left wondering how do good people  get ‘to the top’?  Rather predictably for a wanna be philosopher,  I now have no answers, and more questions. The questions include:  what aspirations, if any, do I have for the boys? Do these aspirations include them getting ‘to the top’? And who am I to project these aspirations on to them in the first place?

What are my aspirations for the boys? Well, I’m very open minded and laid back  don’t ya know. So long as they are happy and healthy, that is good enough for me. Although, that reminds me of a quote that I once read:

“I don’t know why we are here, but I’m pretty sure that it is not in order to enjoy ourselves.” Ludwig Wittgenstein

And actually, thinking about it, there are a couple of tincy wincy caveats I’d like to add to the ‘happy’ aspiration -nothing serious you understand.

Nothing that would limit there own freedom and creativity. It’s just that I’d rather that inflicting pain and suffering on others doesn’t make them happy. But that’s pretty obvious. That goes without saying.

And then, well, just add to that, I don’t want money and power to be their primary source of happiness, especially if that comes with them not having time for friends and family, and  especially if they need to be a little bit ruthless and a little bit mean to pursue this dream.

I’ve got it – being successful. Being successful as a means of acquiring happiness. That’s not a bad route? You know, excelling at their education, or in the arts, or sport, or at work or *SHOCK HORROR* being a good parent? It would be great  if that made them happy? Well, being successful is all jolly good, but what if that success comes via focussing so hard on one aspect of life that they end up not experiencing other great things the world has to offer, things they aren’t so good at. And what if they never found a niche?  I wouldn’t want that to make them unhappy. Oh, and if they fathered a child at 15, no matter how good they were are being a Dad (can you be a good Dad at 15 – a topic for another post), I’m not sure I want ‘being a teen Dad’ to be their aspiration. So now I’m just becoming plain judgmental.

Flipping ‘eck. I’m not a feet-up-philosopher of a mum at all. I’m a frickin’ opinionated, judgemental control freak. Meh – I’m their mother – what can you do?

I can say that I have no wish to prescribe what they should do with each stage of their life, or to insist they stick to the path that I set them upon.

I  do, however, want to provide them with the confidence to read the ‘sign posts’ we stumble across when deciding where we take our lives next. I need them to feel able to question the politicians, the advertisers, the media and, well, me. And to take decisions that they feel are right for them and their loved ones and society as a whole. And when the needs of these different entities conflict, I need them to have the courage to search for what they believe is truly right.

I care very much  how they undertake their own pursuit of happiness. And I don’t want them to just treat life as one big party thrown on their behalf. As Wittgenestein suggests – there is surely more to it than that. Isn’t there?

4 thoughts on “Don’t Worry, Be Happy?

    • cogitoergomum says:

      I just read your post juliaandjulla. I love how you view happiness as a state of mind, rather than the end result of our actions. I hope my kids feel able to choose this path. I still, though, think it is not just happiness I want for them. Which, as a parent, is an odd thing to say isn’t it? And I still want them to be able to cope when life throws things at them that will make them sad, as it surely will. Thank you for your food for thought. CeM x


  1. thereadingresidence says:

    Interesting post. I think a lot of us say we want our kids to grow up and be happy, but you’re right, maybe there are caveats. Personally, I want to feel I’ve brought my kids up to strive for happiness, believe in themselves to achieve it, and understand that money does not buy you happiness – it’s the people you surround yourself with that can do that. We can only do our best by setting examples for them and believing in them to make the right decisions.


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