Happiness Lessons

 Listening to the today programme on radio 4 this morning I heard a story about how we should test  kids in PE to make sure they are getting fitter. And I thought, well, hey, why not teach them about what makes people happy - and then test how happy they are - and then see if we can make them happier.

Which is either crazy, or a brilliant idea which will happen pretty soon! Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference.

Teaching children about the real causes of happines and misery could really make a difference to the next generation. As trhe 'occupy' movement shows us, we are all looking for a new way of living and a new purpose. Basing society on 'Happiness' is the only good answer I can see. 

At the moment we let our kids learn about happiness from adverts, Coke's latest slogan, for example is 'Open Happiness'. Mercedes also advertise their cars as specifically causing happiness. Advertising generally is offering happiness as a motivastion for buying products without any scientific evidence. Children may well feel that drinking Coke in a Mercedes is the best way to be happy, I'm pretty sure that that's not the case, but it does depend on what you mean by happiness and I'm sure lawyers could beat me in an argument.

There is more to life than burgers, soft drinks and expensive cars - and none of these things cause lasting happiness of themsleves. Don't we have a responsiblity to offer our children an alternative explanation of happiness, a better story, a better way?


Happiness comes to them who opens their door for small treats that life provides to them. So be happy and live longer!

I'm a kid. Really. I'm only eight years old.
Also, I might be the thinnest kid ever heard of, and I eat a lot of snacks!

Maybe in 5 or 10 years you will not be such a thin adult!

There is nothing wrong with snacks, carrot sticks, nuts and fruit are all pretty good. Pringles, coke, wagon wheels, not so good.

The real problem here is equating happiness with consumer products, particularly products which cause obesity, heart disease, diabetes and pollution. As Art Buchwald put it "The best things in life are not things". You can't go to a shop, buy a can of sugary water and then "open happiness", happiness simply doesn't work that way.

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