Greystone House Montessori Schools Houston, Texas. Child care Montessori provider in Champions, The Woodlands, Spring Texas Greystone House Montessori Schools Houston
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The mother I was talking to was frantic. Her fifteen-year-old daughter was threatening to commit suicide. It’s a worst nightmare, and we seem helpless in the face of it. Drugs is another one of those issues. We’re not there yet with our preschoolers, but it could easily come into our lives if we’re not pro-active about it. The antidote? It’s joy. Joy packed down and overflowing in our lives and in the lives of our children.

That answer comes easily, but how do we get joy – and then how do we teach it? Cat Thompson is a life coach at Emotional Technologies. She says that joy is different from pleasures such as a perfectly ripe peach or a kiss from a loved one, and different from happiness that comes when wishes are fulfilled, when our standards are met, or when we find ourselves in a good place. Joy is about what we have chosen, pursued, defended, and claimed for ourselves. She goes on to say, “By nature, it [joy] is the outcome of an emotional cycle that begins with feeling a deep longing, imagining all the possibilities that could fill it, experimenting and selecting from among those choices, committing to the ones that feel most right and then following—directing the full force of our energy in the pursuit of the choices that best express our deepest-held value and priorities and that best extend our most valuable gifts. Finding joy is in essence a creative act, one filled with a certain amount of mystery and a great deal of discovery. As a rule, it requires courage, an open mind, and a willingness to explore some of our own darkest corners.”

Finding our own joy can be a challenge. We get so bogged down in our days that we roll past five years, ten years, and then realize we really didn’t notice. And the joy has drained out. We forgot to define what our deepest values were; we forgot to find our passion. Today is where we realize exactly what is right and wrong for us, where we learn how to set boundaries between our own priorities and other peoples’ expectations, where we eliminate distractions and detours and compromises, and instead direct our energy straight toward the thing most meant for us; our joy.

This is what we want to teach our children so they will have the sense of victory and celebration when they’re a teenager or a young adult. It’s easy with little children with their enthusiasm and sense of wonder, but we have to start now, everyday, with full commitment to understand that joy. It’s a lot of hard work, and it requires major investments of time and talking and staying in touch with our family and being grateful. Finding joy—and most critically, teaching our children to also have joy—is an essential part of successful parenting.