Every one of us seeks happiness but every one of us seeks it in different ways. When there is unhappiness, we tend to want to displace it with material things, only to find out that they cannot really bring lasting happiness, because they break down, they get stolen, or they get outdated by newer models. We try to give our children happiness by providing them with “good” food (fast, fatty and fancy), “good” things (expensive, expensive and expensive!) and “good” life (study hard, get good grades and the reward is a holiday in Europe!).
But are they getting good happiness? That is a tricky one because how does one measure happiness? Then again, since we are so clever to measure “cleverness” why can’t we measure happiness? But I think someone has come up with the method to measure happiness or else we wouldn’t have known that the Bhutanese are the happiest people on earth!
So we need to think about what happiness is to you and your children. We need to talk about it with them. We need to explore it much deeper because that would shape how we live our lives and chart our goals.
“Happiness needs to become a deliberate habit and not just the feeling when everything is perfect.” (Edward de Bono)
In other words, we need to learn how to effect happiness rather than waiting for happiness to happen. To do that, we need to understand ourselves – what makes us happy – and to strive to do the things that would effect that happiness on a daily basis. We also need to know what makes us unhappy, and to strive to understand why that is so. And then we use that strategy on our children.
H, according to Edward de Bono, is also for Humour, Help, Hope and Health. “Humour develops the habit of mind of seeing things in different ways, of exploring possibilities. Humour is all about the possibility of changing perceptions.”
As a nation, we are terribly humorless. The daily papers are constantly headlining serious matters and depressing news, about people dying in disasters, people fighting in the name of religion, people belittling other people in their false sense of superiority-complex. We need to lighten up. We need to laugh at ourselves and to laugh with others, not at others.
“You help yourself very directly by helping others.”
The happiness derived from helping others is immeasurable. This should be a central part of our life education and children ought to experience this and see this happening in their lives. There is too much greed and selfishness in this world. Let’s not perpetuate these but instead, make the world a little better by being better people ourselves. This way we create hope for a better tomorrow.
“Even when hope is completely deluded, it is always worth having hope. Hope is key.”
And instead of tackling health issues only when it is too late, we should start our kids young by teaching them how to make healthy choices in their lives. Children as well as adults, need to know how our bodies function and what kinds of foods our bodies need and do not need, and to keep it running by regular exercise. When they understand that the body is not invincible, that it grows old and its organs can malfunction one day, they will see the need to take good care of it for maximum functionality.
We should also not forget about the aspect of MENTAL HEALTH. Far too many people (and children cases are on the rise) are afflicted with mental health issues such as depression. Suicidal rates are at a worrying point. We need to tackle the causes and to reduce the unnecessary stress that is inflicted on them in the name of conformity, development and success.
“Health is a baseline on which everything else is built. If you are not healthy you are not able to help others (or yourself) and may absorb help that could be better used elsewhere.”
For more inspirations from the master himself, read Edward de Bono’s “A New Religion? H+ How to Live Your Life Positively Through Happiness, Humour, Help, Hope and Health.”
Have a happy day!