What Your Send-Off Says About You

This morning, I gave my son my standard off-to-school send-off: “Have a happy day.” I’ve been saying this for almost as long as I remember.

Today he answered, “And may you have many hirings.” I really got a kick out of that, although that’s not the point of this post. My point is that that way we send our children into the world betrays our values.

I could say any number of other things, such as, “Be good, son,” or “Don’t cause any trouble, now,” or “Listen to the teacher and follow the rules, or “Make me proud,” or “Work hard,” or “Don’t embarrass me, son,” or even the very bland, “Have a nice day.”

But I don’t say any of that, because that’s none of that is what I care the most about about. I want nothing more than my child to be happy in the world, in his life. I don’t mean that in a superficial, flighty way, i.e. being by being given everything he wants without effort. Instead, I hope he will do the hard work that results in a balanced, happy life. Taking time to make friends. Cultivating those friendships and making them last. Bonding with others other a good laugh and some hard work. Having fun with people he cares about. Having an active, fun social life. Following his passions (wrestling, martial arts, parkour, acrobatics, jumping, climbing, diving), even if they sometimes scare me. Striving for his goals and making something good happen in his life.  Feeling good about himself for his accomplishments and character, not for superficial things like money or looks. These are all things that lead to a happy life, in my book.

What does this have to do with human resources, you may wonder? Well, I’m always thrilled when a naturally happy candidate walks in my door. As HR people, we can knock ourselves out trying to create the right attitude to foster satisfaction and engagement, but if someone is by nature unhappy, it’s probably going nowhere.

When I encourage my son to be happy, I feel like I’m cultivating a future, engaged worker who is self-motivated, loves what he does, and can contribute a lot to the bottom line.

If you liked that post, then try these…

Friday Fun: Legal References by Krista Ogburn Francis on August 20th, 2010
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What I Wish I’d Learned at SHRM 2010 by Krista Ogburn Francis on July 3rd, 2010
I wish I’d heard Al Gore speak.

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