Parenting: when the toddler asks you what ‘Joy’ means?

As most of us do, we work hard at seeking joy in life and try to pry the meaning of it and probably made a fine mess of doing it sometimes in the process. 

and Kei had to poke me in the brains a few days ago with: 

“papa, what’s joy?”

and yeap, the brain cells started to hurt.

How can I explain this concept that has grown-ups whack their brains and mull their lives over to a 3 year old?

After all it does seem the older we get, the better Joy gets at eluding us.

Mulling over it for a few seconds and so I pulled out the iPad and started with showing her a few photos.

Fujifilm X100F

Joy can come in many forms, and it does not mean that one needs to be laughing out loudly. Its more of… what goes inside you, a type of feeling like happy but better than happy. 

Fujifilm X-H1, XF34F1.4

When someone is in joy, it feels good, sometimes moving into being ecstatic or even jubilant.

Fujifilm X100F

 Joy can also be found in lesser than good situations, even when smiles are rare, but somehow the heart is at peace.

Leica T, TL23

Joy can also be found in goofy situations, where one finds oneself doing silly stuff, even when you are the only one finding it funny. 

Joy can be lasting or very temporal, the type of joy one gets from a new toy or new camera is not the type that lasts long because you will soon want another newer camera or toy.

Fujifilm X-T2, XF23

but in all, Papa believes Joy is what one can find if one is kind to oneself enough to work at finding comfort in one’s situation.

The feeling one gets after one accepts the situation, and after one has made a decision to make the best out if it no matter what – being comfortable with oneself, with little care for other people’s definitions of joy – this is the type of Joy Papa wants you to learn. 

Sony A7II, FE28F2

The one where the whole world tells you a chair is meant to be sat down on upright and if not its ‘wrong’ but you don’t bother and simply make the surroundings work for you. 

Sony A7II, FE28F2

I think this is the type of Joy we all need so much now, not the superficial type of joy businesses want you to get through never-ending consumption.  

Dear Kei, I’ve no idea whether you understand this now, but I hope you will one day.