We recently celebrated Mother’s Day. What do you, as mother or father, want most for your children? It’s a question that may seem easy to answer—you want them to be happy, to have a life that is satisfying and free from danger or tragedy. If asked to define exactly what that means, however, the answer is not so easy to articulate. What makes a person happy, after all?
This reminds me of something my husband and I discovered many years ago, very early in our marriage. Each weekend we would try to think of fun things to do. The harder we tried to “have fun,” the more elusive it seemed. Not that we didn’t enjoy just being together, but somehow we had the idea that every weekend had to be “special.” I don’t remember exactly how it happened, but somehow we came to the realization that the more you seek happiness, the less able you are to find it. This is surely because we are made in the image of God—we are made to work and serve and love, to invest ourselves in things outside ourselves. The only true satisfaction we will ever gain won’t be from finding ways to please ourselves, but from pouring ourselves into things that matter in the long term.
If this is where true satisfaction lies, then buying more, acquiring more, winning more, earning more, watching more, will always leave us feeling empty. We have a solemn obligation to our children to live in a way that shows them what is truly worthwhile, not simply to make them “happy,” or make sure they always “have fun.” It is an investment—it is expensive in terms of the time and patience we must spend, and we will never be able to do the job justice if we listen to those who would tell us we deserve “me” time. True satisfaction doesn’t come from looking for a good time; it comes instead from giving of oneself to something greater than ourselves. On Mother’s Day, it is especially fitting that we remember the cost of investing in the lives of our children, and that we thank God for our own mothers, who did the very same thing for us!