Life and the Bible are full of paradoxes; apparent contradictions that really aren’t. As parents we have to understand this if we want to see our children achieve godly maturity. We all want our children to grow up to be happy adults but the path to happiness is not always direct. As exaltation usually begins with humility, true happiness will require some tears (“God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” 1 Peter 4:5). This is why Christians are able to “count it all joy” when they “fall into various trials” (James 1:2). The trial is not the end of the story; it’s a means to an end. God is teaching us something that is for our good and that will lead to happiness. He knows that, do you?

Of course, like our Heavenly Father, we do indulge our children from time-to-time. We give them gifts, praise and all sorts of gracious blessings. Nevertheless, a constant flood of such things is detrimental to their long term happiness. Selfishness is our basic problem (and theirs), and if that beast is over fed it becomes a monster; then nobody is happy. Feasting is always better after fasting. Left to ourselves we rarely tell ourselves “no.” That’s why your children are not left to themselves; they have parents that know better. Do you know that they will never be happy if you never make the unhappy?