Find and Share Your Core Joys - Part 1: Father's Day Advice to My Grown Children
"When I was 14 my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years." Mark Twain
This is an open letter to my six adult children. They are pictured above, dancing together last year at their cousin's wedding. It makes me happy that they find joy in being with each other. I hope that they, like Mark Twain, have found that their father has learned a thing or two with the passing years.
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I love being a father, and I love being your father. I love each of you individually and all of you collectively. My greatest desire is your happiness.
There was a time in your lives when your mother and I felt we had both the capability and the responsibility to help mold you into the kind of adults you would eventually become. That stage has passed. Now as adults you are who you are and it is up to you if you wish to change yourselves.
Over the years I have made certain "stupidly simple and duh-obvious" observations about people. I believe that if you were to understand and apply these three principles in your lives, they would greatly increase your overall happiness. My advice today is that you pay close attention to the you that you have become and consider how these principles can help you enjoy the kind of life you want for yourself.
Principle No. 1: Different things make different people happy.
To apply this principle, I invite you to thoughtfully inventory the activities that make you happy and commit that list to writing. Think about the times and circumstances that made you smile inside and out. Remember the magical moments of your life and consider what made them sparkle. Peel apart those blockbuster occasions and discover the essence of the experience for you.
Focus on what you were doing, not on what you owned, what you were wearing or driving, or even where you were at the time. Ask yourself, "When I am doing _________, I feel great happiness or joy." This is primarily an activities list.
Writing down your ideas is important. Putting pen to paper will help crystallize and clarify your thinking and feelings. Don't allow them to merely swim around untethered in your head.
Don't rush this task, but likewise, don't delay getting started. Get the process underway and then let it marinate for several days. Take plenty of time to make as detailed and extensive a list as possible. Remember, this is your list and no one else needs to approve or disapprove.
Principle No. 2: There are different levels or degrees of happiness.
Principle No. 3: Life is sweeter when we share our core joys.
To Be Continued . . . .