Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happiness is...?

According to one of those pointy-headed, faux intellectual, egghead types at Harvard, the key to happiness is avoiding, at all costs, rearing children. I always thought happiness was all about two kinds of ice cream and sharing a sandwich.

Daniel Gilbert, a professor of psychology at Harvard University and the author of the book Stumbling On Happiness, says people's happiness declines after they have children, and never recovers until the children leave home. Gilbert's vast body of research indicates that playing with one's children produces less happiness than talking with friends, eating, or watching an episode of "According to Jim."

By the way, Gilbert has neither children nor pets. And in other good news the conference was organized by an outfit dedicated to the study and practice of Buddhism, so at least we can hope there were only a few "Christians" present.

For Christians, children are never mere accessories or a "lifestyle choice." Conception is an act of God (Ps. 127:3, Ruth 4:13, I Sam. 1:19-20, Gen. 16:2, Gen. 17:16, Ps. 22:9, Jer. 1:5, Gal. 1:15) and children from the womb are created to be the image bearers of God (Gen. 1:26-27). Scriptures commands us to be fruitful and multiply, for the purpose extending His dominion (Gen. 9:7) and producing Godly offspring (Mal. 2:15). Moreover, children are to be received as a gift from God:

Ps. 127:3-5
3 Sons are a heritage from the LORD ,
children a reward from him.
4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are sons born in one's youth.
5 Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
They will not be put to shame
when they contend with their enemies in the gate

Get the picture? Receiving a blessed inheritance from God involves in part the gift of children. Those who despise children despise life itself, and ultimately they despise the giver of life. Listen to Martin Luther: "The purpose of marriage is not to have pleasure and to be idle but to procreate and bring up children, to support a household. Those who have no love for children are swine, stocks, and logs unworthy of being called men or women; for they despise the blessings of God, the Creator and Author of marriage."

The correlation between happiness and children sounds strange to modern ears. Fortunately the likes of Dr. Gilbert will ultimately have little significance for they carry few arrows into battle. The future belongs to the meek and obedient, to those who love God rather than death.

1 Comments:

Blogger Vaughn Ohlman said...

To sum up, then, the whole matter is simple enough. If either a race or an individual prefers the pleasure of more effortless ease, of self-indulgence, to the infinitely deeper, the infinitely higher pleasures that come to those who know the toil and the weariness, but also the joy, of hard duty well done, why, that race or that individual must inevitably in the end pay the penalty of leading a life both vapid and ignoble. No man and no woman really worthy of the name can care for the life spent solely or chiefly in the avoidance of risk and trouble and labor. Save in exceptional cases the prizes worth having in life must be paid for, and the life worth living must be a life of work for a worthy end, and ordinarily of work more for others than for one’s self. 15
The woman’s task [of having and raising well trained children] is not easy—no task worth doing is easy—but in doing it, and when she has done it, there shall come to her the highest and holiest joy known to mankind; and having done it, she shall have the reward prophesied in Scripture; for her husband and her children, yes, and all people who realize that her work lies at the foundation of all national happiness and greatness, shall rise up and call her blessed.
-Teddy Roosevelt

2:22 PM  

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