The pursuit of happiness can seem arduous, requiring effort and time to reach one’s goals. Yet, sometimes, happiness can be simple, experienced through moments of love and attention.
Most people put a great deal of effort and attention into achieving happiness. The U.S. Constitution recognizes “the pursuit of happiness” as an inalienable right. Yet, According to The Washington Post, studies show that while Americans are getting richer, we are not getting happier. In fact, our level of happiness has gone down since 2005.* In support of a global shift in how we think, work toward, and spread happiness, the United Nations has adopted a resolution that identifies “happiness” as an indicator of social progress. Member countries are invited to assess the happiness of their citizens through the Global Happiness Index, which uses six measures to explore who is happy and why. Rankings from 2015 show Switzerland, followed by Iceland, Denmark, and Norway as the happiest countries in the world, with the United States ranked at number 15.
The short film, Mr. Happy Man by Matt Morris, documents the life of 88-year-old Bermudian, Johnny Barnes, who devotes six hours of his day greeting passers-by at a traffic circle in the capital city of Hamilton, with the hope of spreading positivity and joy as well as being of service to others.
Connections to National Standards
Common Core English Language Arts. SL.11-12.1.c. Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that probe reasoning and evidence; ensure a hearing for a full range of positions on a topic or issue; clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions; and promote divergent and creative perspectives.
Common Core English Language Arts. SL.9-10.1 and SL.11-12.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9-10 [or 11-12] topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies. D2.Psy.2.9-12. Investigate human behavior from biological, cognitive, and sociocultural perspectives.