園訓:「教養孩童,使他走當行的道,就是到老他也不偏離。」箴言二十二章6節

 

Written by: Marriage and Family Therapist, Child Play Therapist, Lee Wai Chee

Everyone hopes to find happiness, and parents are certainly no exception. Many times, parents are even willing to sacrifice their own immediate needs and happiness, hoping to exchange them for their children’s “happy life” in the future.

Most parents understand that their children’s future “happiness” is by no means guaranteed one hundred percent. However, many parents believe that not striving today will inevitably lead to failure tomorrow. In addition, the social atmosphere advocates “doing more is better than doing less,” and even considers not doing anything as laziness and passivity. As a result, all parents and children find themselves doing more and more, gradually losing their direction.

In online discussion forums, I often see some parents criticizing society and the education system for putting excessive pressure on children, stifling their growth space. However, on the other hand, they helplessly push their children to do various exercises every day, showing their helplessness and sense of powerlessness. The contradictions and dilemmas faced by parents are understandable, but these fears and anxieties can cause parents to easily miss the insights that children give us.

When a baby is born, they live a simple, direct, and natural life every day. When they are hungry, they eat; when they are full, they sleep; and when they wake up, they play. They explore the world in their own way and interact with the people around them. They laugh heartily when they are happy and cry out loudly when they are sad. Children tell us that human needs are actually quite simple, and as long as these needs are satisfied, they will be happy. It’s just that the adult world has become increasingly complex, and people’s desires have grown, causing adults to forget even their own needs and, as a result, become increasingly unhappy. Ironically, we still assume that we understand the “key” to a “happy life” and teach children how to find happiness.

Today’s society is filled with the anxiety and unease of adults who fear being marginalized by society and worry that their stable lives are threatened. As parents, they are even more concerned about their children’s future lives. In fact, children understand the essence of happiness best because they naturally live freely and at ease. However, somewhere along the way, parents hope that their children can adapt to the distorted rules of the real world as soon as possible, inadvertently erasing their natural and childlike qualities.

A child’s growth takes time. If parents can observe their lives with a calm mind, be patient, slow down, and enjoy every moment spent with their children, they may rediscover that happiness is not in the future but in the present moment.