Every one of us (well the majority of us anyway) are for the most part in the rat race. We are relentlessly trying to get ahead, whether in the workplace or on the social ladder. We have very little time for family life or friends. Ambition, aggression and arrogance are especially desirable qualities. Sacrifices are made and morality takes a backseat. And we must prepare our children for the rat race? Naturally every race has its losers and the newspapers are full of reports of suicide, crime, drug abuse, alcoholism, separation and stress associated ill-health. But even to those of us that are fortunate to be amongst the winners, something doesn’t quite hold right. Why are we in this rat race in the first place? Is it because we know no better and suppose that being ahead will bring us happiness?

Everything that we want is desired not for its own sake, but for the reason that we believe it will make us happy. In that case we need to change the question. As a parent I wish for nothing more than for my children to be happy. So the question ought to be – how do we prepare our children so that they lead happier lives? The traits that we encourage in our children nowadays are not going to make them very nice people and besides can only cause them misery. Our own experience will tell us that we are unhappy whilst we are envious or hateful. On the other hand children are happy to be simply playing, or doing activities that interest them, or just being with or helping their friends. May be to begin with we should be reminding them that these are truly important and get us happiness and must on no account be given up.

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