I saw this shirt on Old Navy’s website a few months ago. I love buying kitty shirts for my 6 year old kitty lover, so this one caught my eye. I was sad when I read the words.
There is just no way I am going to encourage my child to “do what makes you happy.” I have observed the philosophy of “do what makes you happy” destroy a lot of lives. When I wake up every morning, I have to do a lot of things that do not make me happy. Namely, waking up! This night owl would gladly doze until mid-morning and drop the kids off at school when I feel like it. It definitely doesn’t make me happy to get all three kids out the door on school mornings!
Guess what? If I do what makes me happy all day, I will be a selfish, spoiled mess. I know discipline and sacrifice are not popular words in 2022, and I am not implying that I am an expert in these skills. I am a work in progress. I recognize the importance of working on both of those areas in my life. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me to then communicate to my children that they should pursue whatever makes them happy when I know that philosophy will not serve them well in adulthood.
I think we should all pursue our God-given talents. We should discover the ways He has uniquely designed us. By doing so, we can find how best we add value to the lives of those around us. Pursuing joy by seeking to make an impact in the lives of others is very important to me. If you want to say that is “doing what makes me happy,” I guess it could be that. But it’s much more than what makes me happy. I want my life to matter. I want to find fulfillment in my calling. I want to encourage my kids to do the same things as they discover their unique gifts and talents.
I didn’t buy this shirt for my daughter. Being happy is short-lived. We tend to fill our desire for happiness with temporary pursuits that don’t give us long-lasting joy. When someone asked Jesus what the most important commandment was, this was His answer.
““The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.””
Mark 12:29-31 NIV
Love the Lord. Love others. I don’t see much “do what makes you happy” in those words.
It’s something to think about as we raise our kids and consider our own life’s focus.