Most of us would be quick to answer — Jesus! But does the reality match the goal?
Many have shifted to a Child-Centric or Kid-Centric home. The children’s interests and the child’s happiness are paramount. Children are consulted before most decisions under the guise of, “They need to learn to make wise choices.” But parents are finding themselves catering to the whims and desires of their children, rather than having an adult make the choice for the good of the families values and priorities.
Though one might think that this would lead to a greater sense of fulfillment and satisfaction on the parts of the children, they end up more and more unhappy and want to have more and more of the activities in and outside the home conform to their interests and desires.
I heard someone say something the other day and I wanted to add a hearty, amen, “My children’s character is more important than their happiness.” A major life lesson from which our children will reap rich rewards for years to comb is that happiness is a choice. (Most of us are also struggling to learn this, aren’t we?) When a person has good character, they can choose to be content in difficult or “boring” times and circumstances.
 
On Saturday evening I got to an airport early, perhaps for the first time in my life. Normally, I run from being dropped off into the security line and use the wait to catch my breath. Then, once I have my shoes and belt back on and have gathered all of my belongings, shoved the laptop back into the backpack, etc., then I sprint to the gate just in time for my boarding group to be called. 
 
But on Saturday at LAX I arrived at the airport almost three hours early, found out that I had a lucky TSA pre-check on my boarding pass and zipped through security, found my way to the end of the concourse and went down the stairs to board a bus to take me to this odd, tiny terminal in the middle of the tarmac. As I slipped inside I found ten gates, three vending machines and one place to buy food. I got to my gate and found out that I had at least two hours before boarding! 
 
I walked the mini concourse three times in the space of ten minutes, purchased food and drink, such as it was, ate my breakfast sandwich wrap, had my quiet time and prepared for my Sunday school class the next day and still had about an hour to sit and wait, one of my least favorite things to do. So what did I do? 
 
I could have chosen to gripe, send out texts as to the horror of my situation, and maybe posted on Instagram about this insufferable excuse for a terminal, replete with pictures of the bus-terminal-like “jetways” for boarding the plane. I could have crucified the airline for creating such a God-forsaken corner on the airport property. If I had worked at it, I could have pumped up some form of indignation at this First World problem, which would really have been my boredom over a phony hardship. 
 
If I had been a child in my parent’s custody, I could have filled the time with whining and demands, cries of how bored I was, etc. (Even this slight attempt to puff up a pity party is kind of fun.)
 
But I chose to be content. Twice I ventured up to chat with the flight attendant who was spending two hours waiting as well, nothing to do but to look occupied while waiting for our flight to arrive. One more time I walked the length of the tiny concourse twice, visited the bathroom, and finished waiting for Group 9 to be called to board. In spite of the waiting, I was content and mildly happy with life. 
 
Why? Happiness is a choice. (Note God’s many commands to have joy, to be content, and to be thankful in every circumstance.) Chasing happiness is like chasing a bird or butterfly, it flies further and further away the harder you pursue it. But it lands on your shoulder when you are not expecting it when you are involved in other things. Happiness is a byproduct of a job well done; the fruit of one’s labor and a gift from God. This is a common theme in Ecclesiastes, “I know that there is nothing better for people to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil–this is the gift of God.” (Eccl. 3:12-13)
 
One might beg to differ, pointing to the Declaration of Independence’s statement that life, liberty and the “pursuit of happiness” is an unalienable right. But this term in 1776 meant something deeper and more significant than “happiness” in our vernacular. Happy was equated with our term blessedness. In the King James version of John 13:17, it renders these words of Jesus,  If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.” We have the freedom to pursue God’s blessings, not just anything that makes me happy.
 
Who’s the center of your home? Parental happiness and satisfaction are also weak things around which to organize one’s home. It is slightly better than a kid-centric home in that it teaches a child to reign in their discontent. But we need to find what God wants and make this paramount.  This may require changing priorities. tempering our level of commitment to some activities so that they do not crowd out the best things that God directs us to do. 
 
I’d encourage you to discuss this as a family. It might raise some interesting discussions. Our contemporary layouts of our homes — are they God-centric or Me-centric? Time management — is it around pursuing God or selfish interests? There is no law in this area, but if we claim that Jesus is Lord, then we should open up our homes to this Lordship, Christopher
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