This chapter is about parenthood. Gretchen begins by stating that her children are a tremendous source of happiness. She also states that they are a tremendous source of worry and irritation, expense, inconvenience and lost sleep. However, she rejects the experts’ argument that children don’t bring happiness.
In this chapter Gretchen shares how she created more happiness in her family’s life through developing various activities that promote happiness.
Sing in the morning
Let me begin with a quote: “Music hath charms to soothe the savage beast” William Congreve
–One of the most effective ways to “lighten up” is to make jokes. Use humor. Why not do it by singing “silly songs” ?
–Gretchen shows how she made up silly songs to lighten up situations with her children and how easy it was for them to join in the fun by creating their own songs.
–My children still remember the silly “wake up” song we used to sing in the morning and they now sing it to their children. We still laugh about it to this day.
Acknowledge the reality of people’s feelings
–Learn to recognize the feelings of others. Often all it takes to “lighten up” the mood is to validate and help others work through the negative , sad, angry or fearful feelings they have.
Be a treasure house of happy memories.
–Create family traditions. These can be holiday or birthday traditions or they can be as simple as a monthly “lunch date” , family game night or themed dinner.
–Studies show that family traditions support children’s social development and strengthen family cohesiveness.
–Make chores fun. Rubin shares how she and her sisters pretended to be a “cleaning company”as a fun way to get their cleaning chores done.
–Maintain memories by creating photo albums and organizing paper items and memorabilia in attractive, labeled file boxes. These can trigger happy memories in days to come.
Take time for projects
–Find things to do together. Go to a craft store and find some fun things to make together.
–Make a “project” out of planning for parties and holiday celebrations. The planning is part of the “fun”!
–The planning itself can be a big part of the fun and can help to create “happy feelings and memories”.
In conclusion: Our fundamental nature doesn’t really change but we can have more happiness in our lives each day by adding more sources of fun, engagement and satisfaction and by eliminating some significant sources of bad feelings, such as guilt and anger.
- Be Serious About Play
- Make Time for Friends
- Buy Some Happiness
- Contemplate the Heavens
- Pursue a Passion
- Pay Attention
- Keep a Contented Heart
- Boot Camp Perfect