Happy Chase Lynn

Children’s Happiness: Is It Overrated?

That’s not just the question Lori Gottlieb asks in her MSNBC piece, but it very title. She explores the conundrum of modern parenting pulling out every stop to ensure their child’s happiness when perhaps a bit more failure would not just serve them better, but even suit them better…

“Unfortunately, there happened to be an event in the neighborhood, so after driving five blocks away and still finding no parking space, I drove to the front of the school, idled in the middle of the street, and explained to my son that just for today, he would need to walk into school himself, while I sat in the car and watched him the entire time so I could see that he arrived safely. Normally, he’d be excited to act like a big kid. But because he was in such a cranky mood, nothing was going “normally.” After just a few steps, my son turned around and pleaded, “Mom, come with me. Just leave your car in the street and it’ll be quick, OK? Pleeeeeease!” Here’s where it gets really embarrassing: Not wanting to make him unhappy, I considered it! Instead, I put him back in the car, drove for another ten minutes to find a space, parked seven very long blocks away, and walked him into school. By the time we arrived, he was upset, I was upset, and I knew I’d handled this poorly. That night, as I kissed my son goodnight, he said he had a confession: “I wish you didn’t walk me into school today.” I wanted to yell, "WHAT? After all that drama?" Instead I asked in my calm mommy voice, “Why not?” He smiled and said, “Because then I would have seen how brave I could be.”