How to make your parents happy

sunny asks: How can I be a good son, and make my parents happy?

Hi sunny –


What a wonderful question.  It’s a great goal, to want to make anyone happy – whether it’s your parents, or a stranger, or a nice dog who loves to give advice.  There’s just one problem with it:  you can’t.


If you look at the June issue of The Pawprint, you’ll see a big piece I wrote about how to make yourself happy.  But the awful truth is that you can’t make anyone else happy.  I know, it’s crazy!  Giving them what they want should be enough!  But sometimes…


You know, Handsome loves me more than anything else in the world.  But sometimes something goes bad with his work, or a friend hurts his feelings, and suddenly he’s just not happy.  It doesn’t mean he’s mad at me, or that I’m doing anything wrong, but no matter how many chew toys I drop in his lap, he just can’t be cheered up.  So it’s awfully important that you understand that.  Sure, be as good as you can.  But realize that the old line is still true: being good is its own reward.  And sometimes it’s the only reward you get!


But now, to the other part of your question – how can you be a good son?  Well, officially, there are only three things you need to do:


1)   Do what your parents ask every time

2)   Think ahead and do what they’ll like without their asking it

3)   Live a great life that they can be proud of


If you can do all three of these at all times, you are the best son that’s ever lived.  In fact, I’d argue that if you can do all three of these at all times, you should be locked up in a padded cell!


Here’s an easier, and better suggestion.  How about being a “pretty good son,” or a “good enough son?”  Here’s how to accomplish that:


1)   Do what your parents ask as much as you can

2)   Try to love and understand them, even when you think they’re unreasonable or crazy.

3)   Live a wonderful and happy life that you feel proud of.


If you can do those three things, the odds are your parents will still be happy a lot of the time.  And you will be a terrific and happy person yourself.


Thanks for the great question, and for caring!



PS:  I take one thing back.  Lamb chops.   Bring me lamb chops, and you WILL make me happy!  No matter what!


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