Pursuit of Comfort

One of the greatest fallacies of our time is the mistaken social rule that “happiness means being comfortable”.

When was the last time that you saw modern-day movie where the hero or heroine was happy to be in an impoverished and uncomfortable state?

Advertisers play upon this unspoken rule by convincing us that pain need not be felt; there is always an extra-strength pill to pop which will eliminate the inconvenience of any kind of discomfort.

Food, entertainment, and the pursuit of wealth are some of the ‘drugs’ we may find ourselves using to avoid dealing with loneliness, stressed relationships, or other painful experiences.

Please don’t get me wrong. I am definitely a comfort fan as I sit here typing in my leather ergonomic office chair wearing sheepskin-lined clogs.

Yet, it behooves us to ask:

What are the long-term side effects of raising children in a comfort-obsessed culture?

On the surface, all that glitters is gold, and giving our children a pleasant and pain-free childhood may seem to be the ultimate goal while raising small souls.

However, it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to realize that growing up with a silver spoon in his mouth will make our son less equipped to deal with the reality of life.

The fact of the matter is that disappointments happen. Wealth can insulate people against certain misfortunes, but the nature of life is such that nobody gets an easy ride all the way from cradle to grave.

Everybody gets rejected at some point- either by a college, girlfriend, potential boss, or a myriad of other institutions.

Although we’d like to, we know that it is impossible to shield our children from rejection forever. And from illnesses, stressful relationships, and broken heating systems during an ice storm at midnight of a weekend holiday when all the plumbers in town are away. (Yes, that was me last December- and it taught me a valuable, though freezing, lesson!)

We want the best for our children. A simple calculation will reveal that ‘the best’ does not mean providing endless comfort and pleasure for our offspring. Rather, ‘the best’ will be fortifying our children with the mental fortitude to effectively handle the ups- as well as the downs- of life.

There is no denying that it is extremely challenging to say “no” to our children. Perhaps we are attempting to compensate for our own childhood, where “no” was doled out with too much frequency. Or, we have the means and the time to give our child the coveted item of the fifth grade for this week. Witness any harried parent at the candy-laden checkout counter with a child in the front of her shopping cart. Saying “no” can be downright embarrassing!

Yet, we are all familiar with adults who are self-centered and narcissistic- they are the ones who blow up in a volcanic eruption each time things don’t quite go their way. Perhaps you had a boss or neighbor who radiated tension when uncontrollable things (think: the weather) went awry. That is certainly not the kind of person we want our child to become!

So, the next time your child says, “Everyone else is going there…” or, “I really neeeeeeed this thing!!!” – think about it just once more.

The timing may be right to give your daughter a gift or to treat your son to something special.

Or the timing may not be quire right.

You be the judge.

Happy parenting- where there are no cut-and-dry-rules!


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  1. very insightful; I’m actually going to buy this book, thank you:)

  2. Oh, that’s me, the mom at the checkout counter with a screaming boy BEGGING for candy as though he’s never eaten in his life!

    Thanks for the pointers.

  3. Thanks for the chizuk. I need to work on my no’s more often and hold by them.

  4. Melissa Michie says:

    I have found the ancedote for comfort is missions! Our kiddos go and help the homeless once a month. THEY LOVE IT. is is comfortable? no! We step out of that zone and into the world of others, a real GOD thing,
    In Christ,

  5. A grim example of the message in this article is seen in the film, “Into the Wild”. If you haven’t seen it yet, it offers alot of incentive to be more thoughtful about the effects of overindulging our children.

  6. Valerie Martin says:

    Saying “no” is usually difficult but I have also found that sometimes I automatically say no and then why my daughter pursues it and I think about it somemore I realize I can say yes without harm. I guess we just have to really hear and consider each request, one at a time, many times a day, and on and on and on!

  7. My wife’s sig line used to be:
    Looking for opportunities to say Yes.

    Thanks and God Bless,
    Gidon Ariel
    Co-Founder, The Holy City Prayer Society
    jerusalem@holycityprayer.com 054-5665037
    Get our free e-newsletter: “Prayers and Thoughts from Jerusalem”
    Please join our Society! http://www.holycityprayer.com/join.html

  8. Wow! This is so true. Have you ever noticed that when you have more you require more? Kids are such reflections of human nature. My wife and I used to take toys on long car rides with us…teddy bears, favorite “blankies,” coloring books, snacks, games, etc. We were miserable, and so were are kids. We decided to take everything away except for a few books, and a small blanket for sleeping. After the first hour of driving, the addiction to “things” broke, and we had the best 7 hour trip EVER! They held hands, sang songs and talked. That’s right…they talked to us and each other. I will go as far to say that part of parenting means making sure our kids ARE uncomfortable at times so they can develop their character.

  9. This message is especially important for young first time parents.
    They want to give their child what they did not have when they were young. They cushion every “fall” and don’t let them learn the consequences of their behavior.
    These kids have a hard time when they meet “the real life”.

  10. I completely agree…I am reading such a wonderful book about this whole topic. It is called How Much Is Enough by Clarke, Dawson and Bredehoft. I have a 10-month old daughter and trying out just a few of the suggestions, I could see such a difference in how she responded.