I have to let you know about a project a local private school, Friends’ School, has undertaken called, The Gratitude Project. They are spending the year learning about how gratitude impacts learning. I love this! On 10/18 they brought in well known speaker Christine Carter to speak about a topic near and dear to her heart, Raising Happiness. She literally talked about how we could raise happier children. I was excited! I needed the 411 on this badly!
Her first take home message was quit equating success with happiness! Success does not lead to happiness. We all know the very successful people who are NOT happy. Instead she proposes that happiness leads to success. Do what you love and the success will follow. At this point I took a deep breath and relaxed. I know this to be true. I know in my heart that this is the case yet I was always taught that success lead to happiness. I now know to help instill this in my children: Happiness Leads To Success!
Dr. Carter outlined the individual qualities that lead to success in life and school:
- Social Intelligence [I think this is similar to Emotional Intelligence]
- Grit [also known as resilience]
Can we help ourselves and our children embody these qualities? Yes, we can! It take practice, but as we increase gratitude by noticing and then expressing this value it will increase our sense of self-worth and happiness.
A few ideas of how to foster gratitude:
- At the dinner table ask each family member to say one thing they are grateful for. Role model this one for best success. Even the smallest members of the family can participate.
- Ask about kindness. What is one kind thing someone did for you today? What is one kind thing you did for someone today?
- Help others. Sign up to help at a soup kitchen or bring food to the homeless. A call to the homeless shelter or EFAA can help you make plans to help others.
Maybe you have some additional ideas of practices in your family that help each of us to embody the values of gratitude & happiness. Let us know!