What if we made happiness, instead of test scores, a priority in our schools?
In school, and in other areas of our life, we can be successful at something we don’t love, but being successful at something we don’t love will not make us happy.
If something causes us unhappiness, shouldn’t we be taught to move away from it?
Yes, if possible, we should physically move away from our unhappiness. However, we should also recognize that the source of our unhappiness is impermanent, and that our happiness is not contingent on our external world.
Yet, try telling this to a fifth grader who’s being bullied at school and cannot escape this bullying.
“This horrendous bullying is only temporary. Don’t let it affect your happiness.”
We would never, hopefully, just say this and let the bullying continue, or worse yet, ignore it altogether. We would remedy the bullying. We would teach the bully how to access happiness and love within themselves so that said bully would learn to respect his or herself, and others.
We would educate the bully on the practice of happiness.
Yet, we do not often educate any student, bully or bullied, on the practice of happiness.
Instead, as a former teacher who’s experienced this firsthand, we are often required soley to focus on helping students excel on their tests and quizzes; and are not encouraged to help them excel at happiness. We are told to focus on external, not internal, wellbeing.
But what if learning how to be happy was part of the core curriculum?
In the video below, this is the question that teenager Logan LaPlante poses; highlighting why the practice of happiness should become the primary focus of any education.
“Education is important. But why is being happy and healthy not considered education?” LaPlante asks.
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Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photo: elephant archives