What I Want My Kids to Know About Happiness

 Dear sweet boys,

Today has been one of those VERY full days. You remember the kind, where we sandwiched the park in between errands and everyone got into bed just a teensy bit late with a sprinkling of tears. And yet, here I sit on the couch with your dad, in the dark and quiet, laughing as I tell him about your fight (and subsequent “huggie time” to make up) over the chicken game you wanted to play and how you finally got all the words right to your favorite song. I am once again overcome with a deep feeling of contentment and satisfaction. I am happy with my life. And just like every time I become aware of my own happiness, I make a silent wish for all of yours, now and in the future. 

Photo Credit: RM Photography

As a general rule, you three are a happy trio. You like to laugh, smile and have a good time. Basically you’re kids and you rock at it. But time marches on and life will get more complicated. You’ll suffer disappointments and failures, feel the negative effects of a tough choice, and learn about so many sad things in the world. I can’t stop these things from happening and wouldn’t if I could. In order to know true happiness, you have to know sadness too. But, I worry sometimes, wondering if you will be able to be happy in spite of, well, everything.

You see happiness isn’t just the fleeting high you feel on Christmas or at the donut shop (oh, the joy found in sprinkles). It can be deeper and more enduring, but that happiness, the lasting kind, may be much harder to find.

Already you have learned the joy of giving to others. Your generous hearts love to draw pictures for people, smile and wave at complete strangers, and entertain your friends with jokes and songs.  You’ve helped me make cookies or dinner for people who needed it or shared your toys with someone in need. At this age you do this without much thought. One day it may not be so simple, but I hope you do it anyway. I hope that in hard times you choose to give to someone else instead of wallow. Helping others is always a way to fill your heart with a lasting happiness.

Photo Credit: Lacy Lane Photography

Surround yourself with happy people. You are the company you keep. Friends who like to complain or focus on the negatives in life will make it easy to fall into that habit. I have people I avoid, not because I don’t like them, but because I know my attitude suffers when I’m with them. Choose companions who have a positive attitude and look for joy around them and you may find yourself doing the same. Your dad is one of those people, and I am eternally grateful I chose him.

Every day of your lives there will be upsetting events. Seriously, even a day after taking Felix Felicitis (wotcher Harry) will have a tiny thing wrong. And, the most terrible, horrible, no good very bad day will have at least one thing to be happy about, even if it’s just that it’s over. Find your inner Pollyanna and play the glad game. There is always something, no matter how small, to bring you joy and you can choose to find that happiness in your life

Photo credit: Andrea Jones Photography

Above all, know that that no one can make you happy but you. Some people have beautiful lives and don’t enjoy a second. Others find the light in a bleak world and are completely satisfied. It is no one’s responsibility but yours to make you happy. Don’t constantly chase after more money, more things, more perfection. More ANYTHING won’t satisfy you if you can’t be content with what you have. Really it all boils down to choice. CHOOSE to bring happiness to others. CHOOSE to surround yourself with happy people. CHOOSE to be happy. 

Happiness isn’t something to achieve and cross off your list. It’s not really a destination. If anything, happiness is finding the joy in your journey.



Emily H
Although born in Austin, Emily grew up on the Eastside of Fort Worth. After marrying her high school sweetheart, and following the military's whims for a few years, the lovebirds wound up back in the Fort, with their three children in tow. Currently, Emily shares her love of books and writing with both her children and her middle school students. On the weekends, you'll find her outside running local streets and trails, as well as being her kids' biggest fan at whatever sport may be in season.


  1. Aw, you made me cry happy tears this morning! I love your outlook and this reminder that we control our own perception of life. It’s ok to feel sad, but don’t let it take over everything.


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