The act of chasing joy is like chasing a frightened cat. The more we run after it, the more elusive it becomes. In contrast, the happiest times often pop up at the least expected times, often when we aren't pursuing them.
According to most definitions, the term "serendipitous" refers to something positive discovered or experienced by chance.
How important is it that our children learn that true happiness and contentment are not found in the accumulation of material goods or exciting activities, but are often found in seemingly chance experiences when they struggle with boredom and experience fulfilling relationships?
I wasn't thinking this through too deeply when I thought about how nice it would be to have some quiet time with my son, Cody. "This will be great. Let's have a technology-free weekend!"
He was less than impressed. "Aw, Dad. No... this is going to be the worst."
At first his forecast seemed spot on. Clouds and high winds swirled around as he moped about the house. "Oh, man... this is so boring."
Searching for something to fill the time, I sat at the table reenacting an activity I'd learned from my grandmother: making a cabin out of wooden matchsticks, toothpicks, and school glue.
Bored stiff and still huffing and puffing, Cody sat by my side and began his construction project. Using a hot glue gun instead of my slow-drying variety, he created an entire village, complete with livestock, before I'd finished the fourth wall of my first cabin.
His upset turned to elation as he shared his creation with his mother and then posed for a photo.
While joy does seem serendipitous, we can up the odds of it by creating more times where we relate to each other without the distractions of technology or highly stimulating activities. What's the tough part? It's weathering the boredom storms so we can experience the rainbows.
Dr. Charles Fay