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Wednesday, 20th February 2013
Do you want to be a 'better person' or a 'happy person'? Are the two mutually exclusive?
By Kevin Walton

I found myself sitting and thinking today about how we are raising our kids and the values we are trying to teach them; to be kind to one another, to share, to be considerate of other people and put other people's needs ahead of their own.

But then lately, particularly all over facebook and blogs, etc, I've been seeing all sorts of "empowering" posters and quotes from the rich and famous, etc, which advocate values such as, "Don't care about what other people think; you do what is right for you!", "Those who get what they want in life are those who reach out and take it", etc. Another example - I was always told growing up that "All good things come to those who wait". Then I saw a advertisement several years ago which said, "All good things come to those who get in first!" And I found myself thinking, "Heck yeah! Too b***y right!". It seems like people have had enough of being considerate of others, and feel it is time for others to be considerate of them for a change. And in a way I find myself thinking, "Well, yeah, fair enough".

So I find myself thinking, "Why am I in the position that I'm in in my life? Why do I always find myself and my family to be struggling financially all the time? Why is it that $48k per year is the highest salary that I have ever earned in a job in my life when I hear of other people in the same industry earning up to $120k? Why is it that when I hold down a job for 3+ years, I never see a pay rise?!" And ultimately, the biggest question I find I have to ask myself is, "Do I want to be a 'better person', or do I want to be a 'happy person'?" Are the two mutually exclusive, or is it possible for the two to go hand in hand? Does being considerate of other people and putting their needs first mean being a doormat for other people and missing out on life's opportunities and successes that you, yourself, rightfully deserve?

And what should we really be teaching our children? Should we be teaching them to play nicely with each other and share and let others go first, etc? Or is this kind of upbringing setting them up to become weak and pathetic push-overs who will amount to nothing. Should we instead be teaching them to stuff sharing! Screw putting others first! YOU get in first, take what you want and to hell with other people. That life's rewards to go the fastest, strongest and to those who get in first and take them? That they should climb to the top by stepping up over the bodies of the weak and useless?

I know the latter sounds really bad and quite cruel, and as a Christian I find myself really quite conflicted by the whole situation. I know in my heart what I believe is right, but when we really look and think about what the world is really teaching people these days, we hear the stories about schools that teach kids that participation is all that matters and that there are no winners and losers; everyone gets an award just for participating - You know that your immediate reaction to that is, "PFFT! Yeah, right!" And you know that when they get thrown into the 'real world', that it is going to totally chew them up and spit them out, because in the real world there ARE winners and losers. Which are we raising our kids to become?