If I have learned anything from the young children I have been working with for the past three weeks, it is that happiness is a not a feeling or a random emotion, but instead a choice. The reason that I say this, is based on the children’s reactions to their own lives. As I have expressed before, I have not met a group of children that are so happy and upbeat, despite the conditions in which they are living. Some may argue that this is because they “don’t know what they are missing”, however I find this difficult to believe when many of them still see other cultures through television, magazines, and pictures. For many of these children, they have most likely seen wealthier homes, people, and lifestyles on say, a television, and it must make them question why it is that their lives are so vastly different than other humans.
It is because of this that I am seeing that happiness is a simple choice, a state of mind if you will. These students could look at their life in the most negative way possible. That’s the easy way out. Complain about the living conditions. Whine about the poor healthcare. Cry about not having shoes to wear to school. No, this is not what they will do. Instead they will laugh, they will sing, dance, scream, run, jump,smile. They will be happy. And I can promise you that this happiness is not a result of their new bedroom, or their shiny new pair of shoes. No, this happiness is organic. It is these children’s way of making a statement. Telling the rest of their friends, families, neighbors, and peers that they cannot be brought down by materialistic possessions. They are alive, with the ones they love, and this is all that matters to them. I have said it before and I will say if again.
It is amazing what someone less than half your age can teach you.