As adults we strengthen our families, communities, and nations by assisting the rising generation prepare for life. There are many ways we can assist in this preparation, but the most important way is to teach our children and youth how to be happy. I believe that most of us have been guilty at one time or another of asking a child, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Maybe we are still trying to decide what WE want to be when we grow up!
In either case, we can learn much from the answer given by a thirteen-year-old gave in his TED talk. He obviously knew more about life than most youth his age as well as many adults. His answer was, “When I grow up, I want to be happy and healthy.” He then proceeded to list eight Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLF) taught by Dr. Roger Walsh, an expert on how to be happy and healthy. The young man is already applying these TLF’s in his own life: (1) exercise, (2) diet and nutrition, (3) time in nature, (4) contribution and service, (5) relationships, (6) recreation, (7) relaxation and stress management, and (8) religious and spiritual. How are you doing in these eight areas? Which area makes you the happiest?
We must encourage the rising generation to follow their dreams. It does not matter how much money, power, prestige, etc. that comes from a career if we do not enjoy what we are doing. When we are doing something we enjoy doing, time flies; when we are doing something we do not enjoy, time drags. There is nothing like time dragging by to make us unhappy! We must help our young people to get to know themselves. They need to know what talents and skills they have and how to apply them to a career.
When our rising generation reaches for their dreams, are they reaching for money or glory or are reaching for happiness and good health? We can strengthen our families, communities, and nations by teaching the rising generation how to follow their dreams to happiness and good health.