Family, at its best, is the source of much happiness. and, nothing says family better than our friends Pete and Jan.
Walking into the welcoming embrace of their family celebration – Pete’s 60th – was like a love letter to the world… generating a joyous feeling of public generosity I hadn’t experienced for years. It was like any other family get-together – say, like a wedding reception – except this party/show was open to the public at their music club.
Pete’s large family have all learned how to care for each other. So, not surprisingly, they chipped in by delivering free party food to the many tables of well-wishers throughout the night – with live music that included Pete’s band.
As Jan explained later, you’ve got to expect some problems in life; but, showing you care begins a ripple effect… spreading out to the margins of our lives. You can see she looks at things differently than your average business person… sharing happiness is her business.
“I’m gonna say hello to my neighbor
Greet him with a smile
Shake the hand of a stranger
Sit and talk for a while
Tell someone I love them
From the bottom of my heart”
Today I’m gonna try and change the world – by Johnny Reid
Happiness: A World View
The latest World Happiness Report shows Canada – #7 out of 155 countries studied – as one of the best to live. By contrast, the USA (#13) was described as becoming “a more miserable and mean-spirited place.” Although average US personal incomes are up, inequality is rising and getting worse. Pain killers and suicides reflect an increasingly deeper lack of hope.
The key to happiness? A sense of community, understanding the common good, pro-social behaviour, and helping strangers… not unlike Pete’s and Jan’s philosophy of life. Economist John Helliwell (report’s lead author) said, “If the riches make it harder to have frequent and trustworthy relationships between people, is it worth it?” Still, you have to have some money to be happy; but, as Helliwell noted,“… at a certain point extra money doesn’t buy extra happiness.”
Happy (School) Days!
Yet, there’s now new hope and happiness for American youth. Baltimore’s Robert W. Coleman elementary school has implemented a program that does away with detentions by teaching their students meditation and yoga/breathing techniques.
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This after-school program has been so successful that no detentions have been handed out in two years. Talk about happiness!
According to teachers, students are taught to calm down whenever they feel anger rising and sadness growing – which has also helped them focus and do better on tests. The kids are empowered and that makes them feel happy – developing work/life skills that will also benefit them as adults.
Sometimes we have to make a choice; why not choose happiness?