"We are closer to G-d when we are asking the questions, than when we think we have the answers" Heschel

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Happy or Good

FNQ – thought for the week

If you could choose whether your children will be happy or good which would you choose?

I know this is a very silly question. You cant choose whether you would want your child to be happy or good. However, like many silly and unrealistic questions I think the answer to this one is very revealing. I don't know exactly what it means to be happy and I certainly don't know a precise definition for what it means to be good but I do have an idea so I will attempt to give my answer.

I once heard of a study in which many more parents wanted their kids to be happy than those who wanted their children to be good (I know this wasn't a very scientific statement; it wasn't meant to be one). When I heard this I was very disturbed. We all want to be happy; and being happy is a critical element towards achieving fulfillment that must not be belittled. Nevertheless, happiness is a only a means whereas goodness is an ends and an ultimate goal. To become a righteous person who lives by the values and morals they believe in is to be good. And there is no greater achievement.

A parent who answers that happiness is of more importance than goodness is concerned with that which is transient and fleeting. In contrast, a parent who wants their child to be good values that which is eternal and everlasting. Our Rabbi's say that when we leave this world all that we can take to the next world are our good deeds. All that is left when this life is over is the sum total of our goodness. I want my child to be good. And by the way, I don't think that a person who is truly good can be sad, so I guess I want my child to have both. May we blessed this month with happiness that is a result of our being good.

What do you think?

Binyamin – always looking for a good question

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