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From the Christian Parenting Corner


How to Be Happy – Really

by Sylvia Cochran


Can money and looks make you happy?

Money cannot buy you happiness – we have all heard that saying – but is it not true that it can get you close? Astonishingly, the answer it no; while many believe that they would be happy, or happier, if they had that fancy car with the big rims, that big apartment or house, achieved the next rung on the corporate ladder, or simply had a better figure, the reality of millionaires and well to do performance artists and models showcases that real happiness does not appear to be found in material and physical assets. After all, if it were possible to be happy with the bigger apartment or house, then there should be a huge chunk of people being deliriously happy right now! When you drive through the more affluent neighborhoods of your hometown, does it really look like everyone living in the big houses with manicured lawns is truly happy? Secondly, if a beautiful face, to die for figure, and the adoration and adulation of screaming fans would increase personal happiness, then why do Hollywood’s “beautiful people” appear to have divorce lawyers on speed-dial?

Can you find happiness in the self-help section?

Since it does appear that happiness cannot be found in money, prestige or looks, a separate segment of the publishing industry is devoted to helping you spin gold from straw: the self-help section. Research on positivism, optimism, happiness, self fulfillment and personal development is rampant and books, magazines, journals, as well as the Internet are all getting in on the action. Yet it might astound you to note that in so many words (pages or volumes) most every bit of writing appears to acknowledge that happiness is not dependent on possessions, material wealth, and good looks.

Try telling it to the kids.

Quite obviously there is no doubt that money cannot buy happiness, for if it could, then everyone in the United States would be happy beyond one’s wildest dreams, but the rates of suicide, divorce, and mental health needs paint a different picture. For a Christian parent, this is a visible dilemma since a stroll through the children’s book section will showcase several titles that help even preschoolers learn to deal with anger, depression, and even stress. What has happened that even preschoolers have to deal with stress and need help working through the symptoms?

Read what counts.

While in the past a multivitamin was the only drug our children took, today they are diagnosed with more disorders than the average senior. Demanding their own medicine cabinet just to hold their prescriptions, children are learning at the knees of their parents that happiness is elusive and try as one might it simply cannot be harnessed.

Granted, if you continue to rely on self-help books and checkout counter magazines to hand you the silver bullet against the blues, then indeed the ultimate happiness will be elusive. As we are entering the holiday months of October, November, and December, why not learn how to be happy, really?

To get there, it is important to read what counts. Jesus Christ was able to sum up the secret to happiness in a simple sentence found in Matthew 5:3; happiness, so the Lord stated, is found by those who are conscious and aware of their spiritual need. This need is a void that cannot be filled by anything material. By learning what our true purpose in life as well as our mission are, and by passing this knowledge on to the next generation, we might just stand a good chance of raising children that will not need to learn how to cope with having less toys than the neighbor kid or who are stressed out by being forced into a prestigious preschool that simply does not gel with where they are developmentally and socially.

Sylvia Cochran

Sylvia is a writer, born and raised in Germany. Having been exposed to a variety of religions and traditions due to travel and study, Sylvia has been a student of the Bible for more than ten years and has for the last four years taught in small groups about Biblical principles, practical Christianity, Christian parenting, as well as the spiritual use of money.

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