What other factors matter? The same ones that sustained past generations: we are more likely to find happiness when we choose a good spouse, worship God regularly, and cultivate enduring friendships.

Pursuing a healthy lifestyle and finding the right balance between work and leisure time round out the happiness factors.

Fame? Fortune? Not on the list.

Helping our children recognize the right priorities is the first step. But we've also got to teach them to live those priorities.  That means spending their time in ways that reflect mature priorities rather than the "rich and famous" mindset. As a parent, try to be a wise steward of your children's time, providing the structure that supports the immediate goals they set, in line with their longer-term priorities.

Evaluate where your  child's time goes. For example, how many hours are spent on Facebook and texting? While those are key tools in a teen's social life, they can't substitute for face-to-face friendship. Nor should they replace time spent with family or in worship. And be aware that they easily become self-promotion vehicles---frequent status alerts offer the temporary "fame" that the immature heart craves.

If we channel our child's time towards concrete activities that build relationships and provide a balanced life, we'll set them on the path to lifelong happiness.

(c) 2010 Rebecca Hagelin  www.howtosaveyourfamily.com 

 October 13, 2010