If We Can’t Be Happy, Be Joyful

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It was a tough weekend for my wife and I, although a lot tougher for others.  On Saturday morning, we attended the funeral of a 23 year old man, a son of a friend who had been sick for 6 years with brain cancer. Then a few hours later, we attended the funeral of a good friend’s wife – his second spouse he’s lost to cancer.

This season tends to balance great fun with family and friends with pockets of sadness. It’s hard to know what to say to families who face that much sorrow. If we search for eternal happiness, we’re going to have to fly to Disney World every month. Life isn’t that easy. But…we can be joyful even when we can’t be happy. Joy breaks through when the tough times hit us. Joy reminds us of the blessings we have and gives us the strength that we can capture from our faith, our family, and our friends. Joy gives us the power to be there for those who need our support.

We are seeing greater numbers of young children in our schools who live very difficult lives with increasingly complex homes. They bring their own frustration and sorrow to school and greatly test their educators’ patience and fortitude. We want to understand their trauma and assume best intentions but often we just want them to behave. The holiday season is particularly tough for them. They come to school with so many questions flying in their heads:

Am I going to get presents? What am I going to tell my friends about the holidays? My Mom and Dad seem more stressed -I’m afraid to go home…am I going to get them mad?  Do I want to spend more than a week at home and not at school…all day?

We have to show our kids that we care, no matter what they may say or do. The best we can do is be joyful, especially the week before our holiday break.

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