A Lesson Learned: Where’s your happy face?

Tommy Lee Jones was in a movie called Man of the House where he was hired as a U.S. Marshal to protect a cheerleader. At a football game, a perky cheerleader says to him, “Where’s your happ-ay fayce???” (in her most southern drawl). In which to he replies, “This is my happ-ay fayyyyce” (with a sideways scowl on his face).

Why is it that we always have the obligation to always look happy?? It certainly makes for pretty pictures. These are the pictures we want hanging on our wall…


This one, not so much….

or this one…

But this is real life, isn’t it?

We try so desperately to make everyone think that we’ve got it all together. That’s part of the reason we demand our children to behave in public…we don’t want people to think poorly of us or them.


I once read a sign that said, “As far as anyone knows, we’re a nice, normal family.”

Do you feel like this sometimes? That you have to prove to everyone that you’re happy, nice, and normal?

I’m really trying to get better at this. We have a responsibility toward God and our children to raise them to love the Lord. Not to my neighbor, or other moms at the park, or the lady giving me dirty looks at the store because my kids think it’s funny to shout (happy sounds, but still really loud).

So often I feel like I exert so much energy trying to make them behave in public to keep myself from looking like a permissive parent that I forego focusing on the real issue…their hearts.

If their hearts are in the right place, the rest will follow.

But childishness is going to happen. And before you start judging someone else for their “wild child” (been there), just know that you will most likely be in that same boat someday (sooooooo been there). Kids are wild and crazy sometimes. They have tons of energy (boys especially) and although they need to learn proper boundaries and behavior in certain situations, they can’t be expected to act perfectly 100% of the time.

After all, do you act perfectly all the time? I don’t. Just last night I slammed the baby gate against our wooden bannisters because I was upset about something. Real mature, I know.

God gives us a way to come to Him, to focus on our hearts. And it just happens to be our scripture this week (the letter “C” from our ABC Printable Scripture Cards).


“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” -Psalm 51:10


God doesn’t tell us to ask him to make us look good. He wants more than that. He wants pure hearts.

And that’s what really matters with our kids too. Your child might have just annoyed you to death running in circles screaming, but in the next breath he selflessly shares his toy with his brother. That’s a matter of the heart that’s worth praising.

We can’t have pure hearts without God, though. Instead of exerting all our energy on making ourselves, our children, and our families look “perfect”, striving towards having pure hearts through the redeeming love of Jesus should be our main goal!


My talented friend Kristen took many of the family pictures above. She did an amazing job!



  1. You and your family are beautiful! I enjoy your Sunday posts, they are always on the same track as my current situations. Right now I’m working with my 3yo on having a loving and happy heart. Mostly I’m working on myself, and praying that she learns from my actions.

  2. That’s great! Thank you! I just wrote on my blog about not comparing yourself to others and this fit so nicely with the thoughts I’ve been having lately, though more specifically as it applies to our children.

  3. we’ve been dealing with this issue recently. My son is 2 1/2, doesn’t talk much, and does best when kept to his normal routine. Often times when we get together with family, the schedule gets delayed and irrational tantrums ensue. People assume that because he’s not always well behaved around them, that he has an issue or I’m not doing something right, so they feel the need to step in and pretend they know what’s best for my child. It’s times like those that I find it most difficult to be true to myself and my family. I even discussed it briefly with the pediatrician last week and got this response, “I know it’s embarrassing”… but the best thing you can do is keep them from hurting anyone and don’t give in just because you’re embarrassed. So I really appreciate your post.

  4. What a great word! Over the last week I have noticed how well behaved and thoughtful my two girls really are.p even though I thought they were being quite naughty at times. It has made me step back a bit to realize they are kids.

  5. Thank you for this…we are going through some awful tantrums…some that even make me question m parenting and shake me to the core. I needed to know I am not the only one that struggles through some days(like today)

  6. he he he. I love the pics of your kids where they are NOT smiling. I understand about the pressure. Also, family pictures are a horrible experience. At least for us. We just went and got some done at JC Pennys. In one of them my 8 yr old is behind us and we didn’t know till we went to pick the photos that he had BOTH fingers UP HIS NOSE.
    I ordered some small ones of that. For real. When he graduates high school I will prominently display the nose picking picture. ;-)

  7. Thank you so much for this beautiful post. It speaks to me. I feel like I work so hard on their manners and getting them to stop whining. that’s all I do. Now I am going to try to remember the most important things.

  8. What a great post. I have 2 year old son who has crazy energy. I often describe him as 150% pure boy. And trying to reign him in can be exhausting. I pick my battles and have to let other ones go; regardless of what others think. Besides, it’s not them we’re trying to impress it is?! Thanks for writing this! Cute photos :-)

  9. Such a great post !

    Recently, after leaving a grocery store where we had bumped into some old neighbors (whom I never really liked much), my 7year old said to me “Mom, I only like your REAL laugh.” He was referring to the fact that as I talked with the the neighbors, I “laughed” at some of their jokes and comments.

    But it wasn’t genuine. I was laughing to be polite. In fact, I had been having a really rough day, and didn’t feel like laughing much at all.

    I was being fake. I was “putting on my happy face”. Why ? Too impress some people that I don’t even like ? Pretty silly, huh ?!

    I love that my son pointed this out to me…

  10. And, when I was raising my little ones (a long time ago) I noticed that it was always older ladies giving me dirty looks in restaurants when my children got loud or fussy! As if their children never got fussy in public? Or, I was ruining their day? Now, when I’m out somewhere, I always tell young moms to relax and enjoy their little ones, they are not ruining my day! I love seeing little ones out and about!

  11. Thank you so much for this post. It just occured to me today, that I got so angry, because my son didn’t behave well, but like what you said, it’s because we cared most about what other people thinks about us.

    Thank you for reminding. :)
    God bless.


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