When most people are asked the question, "what is it that you'd like to do?" (or have, or accomplish) you might hear answers like… get a good job… or to find a girl/boy friend, or have a family, buy a new truck, etc… Whatever the answer, then ask "why?" and keep asking why to each answer until in the end, you will arrive at the answer, "to be happy."
For example, if I ask my 16 year old "what would you like to have or do?" she might say "get a new car for my birthday." Why? "So I can drive places with my friends whenever I want to." Why? "Because I like to travel." Why? "I like to see new things." Why? "It excites me and makes me happy."
If I ask my wife the same question, she probably would say "I am already happy, but I'd like to go to Alaska to see our kids and grandkids." Why? "Because that's what makes me happy… to hold, to love, to share…" OK, she may not actually say that, even though that's what drives her contentment, but you get the picture.
If you study happiness, you'll find there are 3 kinds of happiness - Rush, Flow and Higher Calling.
Rush is sometimes referred to a "rock star" type of feeling… the feeling you get when events out there, or around you, give you the feeling of happiness. Perhaps you enjoy the game of football and your team just won the Super Bowl, then you would have that delighted feeling. Or you just bought a new boat, truck or travel trailer and you are anticipating and imagining yourself using it. Or you just won a big race. All of these events would make you feel joyous, but it's not a sustainable feeling. Many people never go beyond the Rush and live their entire lives in pursuit of this type of happiness.
Then there is Flow. This is the kind where you get into the zone… you are pursuing your passion, your dream, or doing something that consumes your mind and causes you to focus so intently that you lose track of all time. You might spend several hours in Flow, but you think that only minutes passed by. Then the trance is broken and you look at the clock and realize you missed lunch by a couple hours. This happens to me a lot when I go fishing and it happens to Margie when she does design work on her computer.
Happiness in Flow is more sustainable and brings more joy when you realize what brings it on and you are able to reproduce it on a regular basis. In other words, find your passion, and figure out how to make a living doing it and do it every day and you will have a prolonged joy.
Higher Calling is the ultimate in happiness because it brings contentment and joy for the duration of your life and beyond. It's bigger than you, so it involves those around you and ultimately a higher power. It's synergy and excitement that's created when you are doing what you deeply believe in. You are living your mission in life and involving and helping others in ways that go far beyond yourself. Higher Calling is the feeling and belief that no matter what happens out there, or to you as a person, doesn't matter because the goal was accomplished… that's true happiness that very few experience.
If you help your children to go beyond the Rush and into Flow, they will achieve more and be much happier than the majority of the population.