Friday, April 23, 2010

Choosing to be Happy

I meet so many people who are unhappy.  It really is sad to think that in the United States of America there can be so many unhappy people.  I count myself as a person who, for the most part, is truly happy.  I think back to one statement our founding fathers said, " life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." One of the most famous and quoted phrases in our Constitution.  But what does it really mean?

I think most of us, Americans, confuse the words 'pursuit of happiness' with a guarentee of always feeling happy.  Since most of us have never really struggled, not really struggled, we don't understand the word happy.  Pursuit of happiness really means that you have the power within you to move toward happiness.  It doesn't mean that you will get there.  In the United States, you have the ability to work hard and achieve.  That doesn't mean you will not sometimes fail, heaven knows,  most of us have had our fair share of failure!  It means that we do not have the governing body telling us what we will become when we grow up, who we will marry, where we will live and how much we will get paid.  We ultimately choose those things whether we realize it or not. 

I tell my children that the choices they make right now, at twelve and thirteen, will decide the path their life takes.  Dad and I are trying to help them make good, solid choices but they alone will decide how their life ends up.  Will they be on welfare, living on public assistance? There are middle schoolers who are right now making that choice by doing poorly in school, dabbling in drugs and alcohol and having sex.  Will they go to college? There are middle schoolers right now who are studying hard in school and saying no to outside pressures.  Will they marry a person that will treat them with respect? They are forming and practicing relationships that will be the basis of future relationships. 

This week, my children will begin making what I call, 'THE LIST'.  My students used to get this lecture at least once a year and some still email me about my stupid list!  You see, the list is a list of things that you require in a future spouse.  I always told my students not to put anything about physical looks because your hormones will take care of that.  It is a methodical list of requirements that you want in a spouse.  I say spouse because hopefully, they will get married to this person once you find them and form a stable family for children to enter. 

Some things that were on my 'list'. 
1.  Christian ( I didn't care what religion as long as it was Christian)
2.  Never married before with no children. 
3.  Non-smoker, non-drug user
4.  Must get along with my parents.
5.  Going to college or trade school to better their education.
6.  Treat me with respect as an equal.
My students always laughed when they saw my list but I reminded them that I was twenty years old!  Not the middle-aged woman standing before them. 

The list kept me focused on the goal of finding a life-partner and I have to say that my husband of nearly twenty-two years fit the bill!  Too many times, I have seen teens, especially girls, lower their standards because they feel they are not worthy.  What they don't understand is that finding a good partner in life is one giant step toward finding happiness!  A bad match can make for a lifetime of unhappiness! 

I hope today's post finds you happy or actively pursuing happiness.  If not, what are you waiting for, the pursuit of happiness isn't just going to drop in your lap!  You are going to have to go out and find it!

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