Happiness is a Choice

I had an amazingly profound experience with my almost five-year-old son recently that made me proud to be his mother. My husband and I were going away for the night and leaving our two boys with some family friends. When I told my son, he immediately grew very sad and perseverated on the fact that he was unhappy. Over and over he kept repeating, “I’m unhappy. I’m unhappy. Hmph.” I get it. I am the center of his universe right now and when I go away, even for just one night; that can cause anxiety and sadness.

As a mother, though, hearing those words over and over can become grating and rather depressing. I called him over to me, put my hands on his shoulders and said, “Honey, I’m going to teach you a really important life lesson right now. Are you ready?”

He shook his head, yes.

“Sweetheart, happiness is a choice. If you choose to be happy, then you will be happy. If you choose to be unhappy, that you will be unhappy. Which do you think is a better choice?”

He looked at me and said plainly, “Happy.”

The next day we dropped him off at our friend’s house. He said good-bye with a smile on his face, gave me a great big hug and said, “Have fun, Mommy!”

I said good-bye and watched him climb the steps to go inside. I stood in the driveway dumb founded! Huh? It worked? I couldn’t believe it. That’s a concept many adults struggle with.

For now – I’m thrilled, but cautious. I’m certain we will be having this conversation many times again, but for today . . . life lesson #1 . . . a HUGE success!!


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