Is happiness what we really want for our kids?

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

If you ask me what I want for the kids, my first response is happiness.

Obviously, it goes without saying that I’d rather inflicting pain and suffering on others doesn’t make them happy. Also, while I’m thinking about it, I do want them to be happy, but not if the source of that happiness is the relentless pursuit of power and cash.

How about Being Succesful? Excelling in something? Excelling in everything! That could make them super happy. Although, maybe that would also make them a  bit…er…annoying?

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 ability to read the signposts 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, even me.

I need to know they’ve been equipped to make decisions that they feel are right for them and their loved ones and society as a whole and that when the needs of these different individuals should conflict, I need them to have the courage to search for what they believe is truly right. Sometimes, what is right might not make them happy.

I realise, when I think about it, that  I care not so much what makes them happy but more about how they undertake their own pursuit of happiness.

I realise I don’t want them to experience life as one big party thrown on their behalf. As Wittgenstein observes, there is surely more to it than that. Isn’t there?

5 thoughts on “Is happiness what we really want for our kids?

    • 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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