Three years ago, I traveled to San Francisco for a Learning and the Brain conference. While I was there, I learned about the latest research linking happiness and success. As it turns out, success does not necessarily lead to happiness. Many of us know this from experience. On the other hand, people who are happy tend to find success in school, at work, and in every domain in life.
With this in mind, I start many of my sixth grade history classes with brief "moments of gratitude." I ask students to spend a few minutes drawing pictures of anything for which they are grateful. Wandering around the room, I encounter illustrations of dogs, cake, family gatherings, and other sources of delight. My hope is that gratitude will become habitual for my students, who will be happier as a result. In turn, greater happiness will make success more likely in the kids’ academic and personal lives.
Learning about gratitude and other aspects of happiness has had a significant impact on me as a teacher and parent. I was also inspired to write a book titled "Teaching Happiness and Innovation." For more information on how we can help kids develop habits that will lead to brighter futures, you can visit my website: www.happinessandinnovation.com.