February 21, 2018

What Makes Success and Contentment? by Lillian Sanderson

Parents universally want their children to be successful and contented adults.  However, the definitions of the words success and content may not always be agreed upon.


Not a day goes by that a “celebrity” is not in the news for some unfortunate incident. Often these people are still young and have lived lives of privilege because of the wealth of their parents or a brief period of fame.  Over and over their mug shots with stunned expressions show up online or on television.  The easy life they have been given does not seem to have made their lives easy at all.  They seem so undirected and confused about what to do to make themselves useful members of their communities.  And yet, should we feel sympathy for their drug abuse and mental health deficiencies?  Don’t they see other people working and struggling to make a yearly income that they could spend in a weekend of partying?


Somebody needs to reach out to these sad people.  Maybe some wealthy and generous person could start something with this growing group of lonesome souls and show them how to make use of their lives.  They have the ability to do so much good.  Lots of wealthy families spend much of their time and money working for favorite charities.


Foundations get established, schools get donations, and hospitals add wings, all through the generosity of those who have the means to do this.


Success and contentment can be attained by seeing the good you are able to do for others.


Buying lots of jewelry is fine.  Fabulous homes are dreamy.  A car for every occasion would be so much fun!  Can you imagine how much help could be given to the less fortunate by just buying a few less luxuries for yourself?  The super successful people that are the most content seem to be those involved in something bigger than themselves.


The troubled could find some joy by following that path.


I guess I don’t really expect the excesses of the spoiled to change.  But I do think that parents can instill a sense of charity in their children.  When I was a little girl I joined my mother in the Mothers’ March, collecting dimes for the March of Dimes.  Yes, we really did ask for dimes!!  At my parochial elementary school, we put our pennies into a box for the “pagan babies.”    Trick or treat for UNICEF…CARE packages…Red Cross blood drives…the list goes on.


Perhaps today we don’t like to think about the sad lives of the poor in our own country or the many in the world going to sleep hungry; but there is need out there.  Even a little bit can start to grow.  If we can sacrifice a little…have a garage sale or a lemonade stand for a charity, send phone cards to soldiers, donate some needed items to a women’s shelter or a nursing home…we can show our kids that it feels good to do good deeds.


The hope would be to develop a positive feeling from doing good deeds; and to want more of that pleasure and satisfaction so the feeling will grow.


I think that feeling is called love.


Lillian is a midwestern mother of 5 grown children and a grandmother of ten.



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