Thursday, January 19, 2006

Happy*Successful*Good

Okay, my last post made me think of this, and I thought I would throw it out to you: I read in one of my 11-teen-hundred parenting books that every parent steers their kids to be predominately either happy, successful or good. So first impression, which did you feel most and/or what do you feel yourself most concerned for your kids?

(should be interesting to hear my sister and I, huh?)

21 comments:

A said...

1. Good (in a legalistic fake sort of way)

2. Successful

3. Happy wasn't even on the radar growing up.

I think as I ponder the *possibility* of children I would promote those in exactly the opposite order.

ash said...

this may be from the youngest sister, but i always felt that mom and dad steered us to to be good and in doing that, we would be happy and successful (not necessarily in worldly measures, but in a lasting sense).
even though i don't have kids, that's definitely the stance i have with my students....and murphy.

Robb said...

Murphy *is* a good dog.

Robb said...

Ideally, we'd want to steer our kids toward all three, right? But, the problem comes about when we are forced to choose between the three ...

- The dad who encourages his son to bend the rules because it is so great to win.

- The mother who insists her children "perform" at church, whether they believe it or not, leaving them miserable about the whole experience.

- The parents who don't push their kids in school or toward college, encouraging them instead to build relationships with friends, but leaving them with few employment opportunities in the future.

Rare are the childre - or adults - who are good, successful, and happy.

Courntey said...

I don't remember being pushed to "happy"--not that they didn't want that but I felt like we were supposed to do good and that would lead to eventual happiness--not getting in trouble, just desserts, that sort of thing. The problem was that, more often than not, I actually felt more pushed to "look" good--be a lady, don't express yourself if it makes others uncomfortable. Uncomfortable was a big thing for me. It seemed like it was most important not to make waves.
As for successful, I know Mom and Dad wanted that for us because they had been held back so much despite their collective talents and they always knew we just would be, whatever we did. I knew that then and I love the way they enjoy our adventures now. They are always encouraging me in what I'm doing--whether as a mother or as a chef.
For Dora, I hope first of all, to instill her with true character--integrity, loyalty, empathy. I don't care if that always comes across as good or if it always gives her warm fuzzies. I want her to be able to express herself without feeling chaotic or oppressed by other's (mainly her peers)opinions. I know she will be successful if she can learn to organize her thoughts in line with strong character. She might be a revolutionary---I support that. I hope she overhauls her whole world if that means it's a better place, if that means she's doing it to shine with God's love. If she's a housewife or the President, doesn't matter.

ness said...

Since my sisters weighed in, I will also say that I felt the push for goodness. I think that being a very compliant kind of kid, I heard "be good" loud and clear. I felt a certain amount of push for successfulness, but that was probably more my own ambition. My mom, (unlike A's) IS technologically savy and is reading this, but I don't think she's surprised about our answers at all. (Her computer, however, is set at some crazy security setting that doesn't allow her to comment on the blog...if anybody knows the way out of that (on a Dell PC) she'd be eternally grateful. )

Anyway, I think I would be thrilled for the kids if they don't hurt others or themselves, they find something to do that they love and feel passionate about (that incidently doesn't require us to support them financially), and they can be comfortable with who they are and spend themselves for God's kingdom.

ness said...

I say that, incidentally, knowing full well that I'd be alittle upset if one of them came home with say...a tatoo. It's tremendously inconsistent, but its true. "What will people think"
is a too-powerful voice in my head.

A said...

Ok, computer guy here. I am not aware of any setting on her computer that would prevent her from posting. Need more info.

1. Is she able to click on "post a comment" link? If so, what happens?

1a. Is she able to fill out ANY internet forms and submit info, or are all blocked, or just blog posting?

2. Assuming the answer to #1 is yes, and the normal posting screen comes up, can she type into the comment box and fill out the username and password fields?

3. Basically, at what point in the attempting to post process does the failure occur? And what happens when it does? An error message? If so, we need the text of the error message. If not, what happens?

If you can get the info, we can diagnose and fix it.

Sometimes it helps to know someone running a computer service company.

Sandy Mc said...

I was one of those compliant kids, but honestly I think my folks did not steer us in any of three directions...or maybe it was a balance. My mom had had a disappointment in her life as she felt excluded from the career she dreamed about and I think she kind of left it up to us to find our way. Not like we were neglected, but in retrospect our family may have lacked passion (which I have been trying to recapture in my life)...the passion to pursue something with risks. My mom has latent creativity she generally keeps under wraps, yet she mostly seems content with that.

For my kids, if I *HAD* to choose one...oh man, maybe I can't...I guess "happy" is good, but I refuse to try to create happy with stuff (which seems to be the message from the culture). My experience has been that the input of outsiders can mess up whatever you are trying to do.

klasieprof said...

I guess for me this was thought provoking, so Yes I didn't comment right away last night when I read it.
FOr ME...I just assume that for myself AND my children, being SUCCESSFUL includes being good, and being happy. SO Successful is my top and only pick.
I had to learn the hard way that GOOD is not enough..(there is alwyays someone with a cuter culotte pattern than you), that Happy is ethereal, and that if you are SUCCESSFUL, you create and take with you the ability to create your own happiness.
Self definitions work well for me,I"ve always been one to set goals, and I think that makes for success, and happiness..I dont know about the good part tho.

Sandy Mc said...

Oh and Ness...when I was your age with 2 cute kids I believed with all my heart that it was up to *me* to raise my kids to not be like *those people.* You know...the *wierd* or *rebellious* ones who swear, drink, get tattos, piercings and the like.

But I found out two things as my kids got older and sought their own unique identities, 1) I was happy they were not being "cookie cutter teens", and 2) I loved them anyway!

How did I discover these two things? Because I found myself at odds with Christian people who should have been my friends (and loving family) because they were *afraid* to have our older kids around because it might negatively influence how their kids turned out:(

That verse in "We Are The Body" where Casting Crowns sings about the girl who walks into church and, "...the girls teasing laughter is carrying farther than they know..." could have been written for our Andrea and her experience at our MI church.

ness said...

Wow, Sandy...you illustrate a great point....I may "feel" something is not quite right about tatoos, but I remain unconvinced scripturally that they are wrong, which is why, though it is not exactly the culture I know, I have absolutely no problem with someone having one (or a lot!).

Vintage Fellowship would be a haven for Andrea...if she will give us a chance.

Sandy Mc said...

Question Ness... You said, "I have absolutely no problem with someone having one (or a lot!)." speaking of tattos.

Do you believe you can be equally "ok" with tattos (for example) on your kids, or do you just want you (and your kids)to be "ok" with OTHERS having them.

Not trying to pick on you, and I will share my answer after you post yours;) This is not an easy question to be completely honest on I think.

ness said...

Goodmorning! didn't mean to leave you in deafening silence, but we were headed out for dinner with A & J.

You ask a pointed question. I am okay with it on my kids or others, because I refuse to be inconsistent. I said it before and I'll say again, I cannot scripturally support being against them, and so I will not allow myself to even mentally marginalize someone who gets one. Would I get one? I don't know. But if not, it would be for the same reason I wouldn't want say, a flowered couch. There's nothing wrong with it, I'm just not into it.

For my kids, I would be unhappy if they chose to put a tatoo in a place that say, was more like an advertisement...like on their forehead or something. I would be unhappy if they did it without thinking about it, chose something that they couldn't be devoted to or be proud of for their entire life (Bart Simpson), or if they did it just for fashion sake.

I wouldn't be unhappy if they really thought it through and wanted to be marked by something that would last. Part of our being in the image of God is a longing for things that last. And part of living in this culture is wanting people-who judge us a 10th of a second-to have some inkling of what we believe and are.

Tatoos, like women showing off their ankles, have changed in what they mean. Our kids will probably think they are so uncool.

ness said...

And now D...I found your answer fascintating, I guess knowing how your mom has hurt you at times. One thing I often see you point to is the schooling she arranged for you and the power it gave you at times when the "good people" around you did nothing but kick the crap out of you. I don't know how you would have survived at times if your bent was to always be "the good girl." You remain one of the most brilliant, interesting, amazing people I know. God always took care of you, but not in the stereotypical ways we always hear about.

Sandy Mc said...

Great answer Ness! I wish I could think like you more easily. I think that my place at the end of the boomer generation puts me in this wierd place where I am in a constant *battle* to break free of the mindset of the core boomer groupthink....but I sure try.

I think your answers are perfect, and I will use them to strengthen my answers.

The honest truth from my place is that I do accept others with ANY/ALL unique traits, I still have trouble with it in my kids. This is not because of my personal feelings...it's because I want to "protect" them from all the people who would hurt them because they are different. I have found this a very difficult line to walk. Thanks for the discussion:)

ness said...

I can't imagine what it would be like to have people hurt your kids over something so silly. Gets my back up! And yet, it takes a lot of thinking things through to keep from being small-minded and narrow. When people live someplace small, its hard for them to change. I know that some of our dearest church folks in MI would have a conniption over this discussion. They can't help it, and I can't help thinking the way I do, and that's why we had to leave....

Sandy Mc said...

May you never find out how it feels to have your kids under scrutiny for such things. Homeschooling definately helps, and you should avoid the other place this is often in your face (church) when they are still young. Later, though as kids grow older, I have found they can still be challenged by people who want to see cultural norms represented, and my best hedge of protection has been to turn away and let them do it on their own. Thank heavens for college towns! When I know Andrea's work schedule I will let you know and you can go meet her sometime.

klasieprof said...

tqYou are SO right Sandy and that is why EXACTLY I loved homeschooling but was never able to accuratly describe.
The four years we did it helped establish who we were as a family, without all the CRAP and "noise" of public school. We did what we wanted when, worked hard, played hard, and had fun while being together.
This year our family is being torn apart with the entry of the School system..from "getting there on time" to being afraid to send a kid to school with a sniffle as they call Children's Services a lot for Stupid things.
The INTRUSION of others into one's family is awful. The Nasty Church scenario on top of it is enough to break one's heart.
GIve me some of their names sandy and I'll kick their ass. I still Live in Michigan you know..heh heh..sort of like a "throw momma from the train" party...THEY dont' know ME..heh heh...

ntptq: what a mouse surgeon calls a mouse face lift.

courtney said...

okay, I'm a little late to the whole discussion about tattoos but I wanted to add my two cents...I'm the proud wearer of two pieces of body art and, hopefully, more later on. We pierce our ears, we paint our houses, we color cooridinate our churches(to the point of fights over carpet), we dye our hair, et al....you get the point. Yes, it's more permanent than those other things but so are stretch marks and scars. My tattoos are part of who I am. They proudly announce that Ron and I are totally committed to each other until our bodies give out--more permanent than a ring that can be removed. After I'm finished having children, I plan to incorporate symbols of them into more body art because I'm a am proud of being a mother--it's the greatest form of creativity that a person can ever be a part of. Yes, I've had problems with people who don't understand it and picture people who get tattoos as evil or dirty or weird art-fags (that's not a darogatory term, btw). I don't care about those people anymore and that's when I got to the point that I could carry a piece of permanant art on my body. It's a commitment to a thought process, not a lifestyle. Mr. Rogers had arm sleeves. You didn't know that because he knew the general public couldn't accept that in conjunction with loving kids but he did and he was great with kids. I admit, I get a little hot when people make sweeping generalizations about people with tattoos but much in the same way that I get upset with people who make generalized comments about my Savior. I have much more to say about this but I'm gonna let it go....it's cultural, not a conviction issue

A said...

Courtney, since you're a tattoo fan, get thee hence to www.crumbsfrommytable.blogspot.com

=)

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