Review: Practical Happiness by Bob Schultz – Simply Convivial

posted in: classical education 1

Repost from 2010.

Practical Happiness: A Young Man's Guide to a Contented LifePractical Happiness: A Young Man’s Guide to a Contented Life by Bob Schultz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Own. Purchased & read on Kendra’s recommendation. Review first published in January 2011.

The target audience of this book is young adolescent men, but the lessons are applicable to anyone. Schultz writes as if to tell his younger self what his older self now knows after many difficulties and life lessons. Schultz has been a good steward of his circumstances (one of the lessons he writes of), gaining wisdom and humility and knowledge of God from them all. He isn’t reserved about using himself as an object lesson of foolishness, and when calling himself a fool he is being honest and not fishing for denial or compliments. He is sincere, but not without humor. He does not take himself seriously, yet he does not make light of life or of heavy questions. His approach is thoroughly practical, but his theology undergirding the practicality is solid.

I think this will go on my list of every-other-year rereading for myself, and I will ensure all my children read it at least once before leaving home.


Quotes

In the most successful homes, every member knows that the whole bunch comes up short some time or another. If you expect everyone to be perfect, you’ll be disappointed. Sure, I’d like everybody in our home to live up to a high standard, and often they do. However, when they don’t, I shouldn’t throw up my hands in shock and look around to see if anyone outside the house saw it.

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When you’re not shocked and offended by their failures, you’re free to hear God prompt you to give what they need.

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A family who loves sinners, especially those in their own home, experiences joy in the middle of problems. They know the security that comes with acceptance in the midst of failure. When [people] are offensive, instead of getting upset, discover what they need and provide it. If you follow this advice, you’ll be doing what God is doing. And when you’re doing what God is doing, you’ll be happy like He is.

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Most people are unhappy because they attempt to get living water into themselves by acquiring things, instead of letting it flow out by cheerful giving.

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The laws of gravity, force, and matter, though we might not understand all of them, exert themselves upon that cord and it must obey. […] A frustrated outburst toward any object that is simply obeying God rather than us highlights our foolishness!

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If you want to be a pleasant man with a quiet heart, learn to love God’s laws and submit to them. […] When the toast burns in the toaster, it is only following the law that says if you apply enough heat to bread over a long enough time, it will smoke and turn black. To wish for it to do anything else is to wish for it to disobey the order of the universe.

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Life is one big lesson about God. Learn from everything that happens.

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God has all He needs. He enjoys freely giving to people more than they need. He’s never stingy. So when it comes to time, you can be sure that He has given you all the time you need to accomplish all He requires, and then a little extra. Many folks complain they don’t have enough time, never realizing that since it’s God who give time, He’s the One they’re griping about. It’s like when folks complain about the weather — since God determines it, every complaint is aimed at Him. The truth is: He’s given us more than enough time to finish what we need to do in our lives.

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Since God is generous with time, and since we are created in his image, we are free to be generous with the time He has given us. […] Likewise, you have a small abundance of time to invest. […] Unlike money and talents, every person gets the same amount of time each day. […] All of us have a little more than we need and therefore all have the privilege of investing it in our world. It’s possible to take our little extra and transform barren patches of life into beautiful and productive gardens.

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The goal of life is to delight in God. […] We all have the desire and the capacity to experience pleasure. The greatest possible pleasure is to know and enjoy God. If you don’t agree, you’ve probably only known Him from books, meetings, or in activities unrelated to real life. You can know all the facts about God and still miss knowing Him in daily living.

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Productive work produces happiness. […] Fruitful work aligns us with God and His joy. Therefore, the diligent tend to know a happiness the lazy cannot imagine.

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God looks for fruit. He’s given us everything we need to produce it. His care and pruning prepare us for a maximum crop. As we abide in Him, His life within us will produce fruit in its seasons and we’ll nearly burst at the seams with joy.

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It’s possible to know God much more deeply than most folks realize. You don’t have to be a scholarly sage to do so. […] All you need to know is that your God is good and He wants to draw you into Himself, into a fellowship of joy. Your role is to believe and let Him draw you. There’s no need to plan, scheme, and work your way toward Him. Simply follow His voice. His path often seems to lead in what appears to be the wrong direction. Don’t let that bother you; keep following Him. He’s the One who knows where to go, and He is a trustworthy guide.

  1. Harmony
    | Reply

    This sounds really good! Thanks for posting, and reposting!

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