Learning about happiness from a 5 year old boy

Learning about happiness from a 5 year old boy

Last week I sent out the email below to subscribers to my weekly tips (on another of my websites – www.makingchanges.com.au). Although this site is not directly associated with happiness it is designed for those wanting to make positive changes in their lives and if not directly seeking happiness, most users of this site are trying to overcome or minimise distress, anxiety, depression and the like.

Anyway, below you’ll find a true story – one describing an interaction with my son. Although I’ve learned much from inspirational researchers and writers such as Seligman, Post, Ben-Shahar, Petersen etcetera, I’ve also learned much about happiness from my wife, my children, my friends, colleagues and clients. I hope you enjoy this short story and I hope, in some small way, it brings some happiness into your life.

Why wouldn’t I?

Sent Monday, September 17, 2007


Hello again and thanks for all the wonderfully positive feedback sent in over the last few weeks. The “Kindness” email in particular seemed to be enjoyed by many and as always, I hope you’re putting some of these things into practice.

This week I bring you another personal story, and a story that reinforces the wisdom that often hides within the wonderful naivety of our children.

The other day I came home from work and as I often do innocently asked my (5 year old) son, “What did you do today?”

Typically, he responded briefly, with something along the lines of “I played in the park with Henry (his best mate) and Max.”

Wanting to keep the conversation going longer than 6 seconds I then asked “Did you have fun?”

To which he immediately responded, with a degree of disdain and disbelief that I would even ask such a question, “Why wouldn’t I, Dad?”.

Surprised by the simplicity of his response I laughed to myself and unsure about my reaction he reiterated, “Well, why wouldn’t I have fun, Dad?”

Like many young children, my son has a fantastic ability to have fun, where ever and whenever…in fact he approaches almost all situations as opportunities to have fun. He expects, each and every day to be a fun, happy one!

How wonderful?

Now I know we (that’s us, adults) have responsibilities and chores etcetera etcetera but I couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like if we all approached each day, each task, each interaction with an attitude something like that of my son’s? Not, will I have fun…but why wouldn’t I have fun?

Why don’t you try it out and see what happens?