God Forbid! I might be happy.

A recent report by the Children’s Society, has stated that large numbers of children are unhappy. They have found that this has been linked to the fact that the children do not have stable and secure homes. Recently, we analysed some of our Happiness Questionnaires, as part of our Positive Psychology drive, and found that the people who had responded, had not really changed in their happiness levels, despite some of the measures we had put in place. However, what I have noticed, is that the low happiness scores, do indicate who has underlying problems. The person may be smiling on the outside, but the scale shows, that they are not, on the inside.
Both the report and our results have caused me to reflect on the concept of happiness. It is something that we expect and want, but appears to be quite unattainable, by some people. In my conversations over the years with students, I have been surprised by their honesty, about how they feel about their lives. A typical comment was from an A level student, I taught many years ago. She told me that she had everything; the latest mobile phone, a T.V. in her room, a D.V.D. player, a top of the range computer. Then she told me that she would give it all up, if she could just see her mum. Apparently, her mum worked all the hours God sent, to enable her to have all the stuff. Other students have also said this. Where mum and dad are divorced, there is a lot of anger, a lot of feeling of rejection. How much is just typical of teenagers, being angry at the world, I don’t know. In the past few years, I have detected a subtle change in students. I have found them to be cynical, unmotivated, lost almost. In some cases, as soon as they find something difficult, they give up. You find students, who leap from one thing to another, never completing anything. I wondered if this was due to changes in our society. We live in a world of immediate reward. If you want a book, you can download it. The same with music. Many kids, don’t need to wait for Christmas, or birthdays, for something special. They don’t need to save up. In some ways, this is a shame. I remember saving for a skirt that I really wanted. It took me two months. I was so excited when I finally bought it. Christmas and Birthdays were phenomenally exciting. Counting down the weeks to, when you got the present you had been waiting for.
Another thing that I have noticed, is the lack of fun in life. There has been a subtle change in the work environment. We are now so target driven, that we no longer have fun with actually doing the job. We are bad at our jobs, if we don’t attain, sometimes, totally unrealistic targets. Managers go into over-monitoring mode. You feel that your job is under microscopic examination. An example of this, is a school in London, which is under threat of being forced to be an academy. The parents, teachers and children are up in arms. Their argument is, that the school is doing a phenomenal job, considering that there are forty different languages spoken at the school, and some children who have joined, have never been to school before. But no, they are failing.
I don’t think if we enjoy our jobs, have fun and spend more time supporting each other, that the world will fall apart. It might actually give us time to invest in those younger people, who feel lost and unsupported. Also, if we were a little less materialistic and spent time trying to attain more difficult goals, in a supportive environment; rather than go for the quick and easy rewards. Perhaps we would feel a greater sense of achievement. Perhaps, God Forbid, we would be happy.

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~ by envisioningutopia on January 12, 2012.

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