Dear Boundless Families:
The deep freeze has broken, to be replaced by oodles of snow, thickly draped over the pines, making them appear weepy and entirely yummy. It’s a winter of wonder in this land, like a 600 acre snow cone – just add syrup.
I spent an evening with the kids two nights ago. They receive me like an irreverent grandpa, taking refuge in my candour and cynicism. This can be a refreshing reprieve from the relentlessly positive staff.
Feeling naughty, I surprised them with my theme for the evening – The Study of Happiness.
Cue the eye-rolling. Indeed, it took me about 30 minutes to sincerely engage them. But then the ideas and commentary rolled as easily as Boundless snowballs down a hill.
By examining the themes of renowned psychologists such as Abraham Maslow and Erik Erikson, adding a dose of nihilism and closing with my favourite Shaman – Carlos Castaneda – we made the following conclusions – take notes, you are about to discover the meaning of life.
1) You need some money to buy happiness, but too much leads to troubles
2) The pursuit of pleasure yields joy, but it doesn’t last. Pleasure isn’t enough to make someone happy – nihilism be damned
3) Conflict and struggle are necessary ingredients to happiness. Stories flowed about how students became closer to one another only after they overcame their interpersonal struggles
4) Sebrina, quite poetic, told us that she found happiness in a pear she ate recently. Or when she beholds a little animal. The group agreed happiness resides in the appreciation of little things, like a snowflake.
5) You need to give. A lot. To belong with others is the essential formula for well-being. Caring matters
6) Most people are already happy, even if they have bad days.
We tested this out by completing an anonymous happiness questionnaire, largely based on Maslow’s conditions for contentment.
Half the group scored “pretty happy”. The other half hovered around the middle. There was one outlier. She scored “unhappy”.
She comes up to me after the session, and almost whispers,
“Was I the only one who said they were unhappy?”
She then walks away proud as a peacock. Gosh, your kids do delight me.
We ended the evening with the formula. Happiness can be found in having your basic needs met, caring, belonging and in a snowflake. There you have it. You are ready to start your wellness clinic.
I’m excited for you all to see your loved ones ever so soon. Just five days. Their cheeks shall be rosy. Their muscles, both emotional and physical, are well honed.
A whole slew of students are graduating with full high school diplomas at the end of the session. This, of course, brings mixed emotions. We lament we won’t greet their lovely faces each morning.
But the returning kids, and the many new ones soon to arrive mid-February, will keep the game moving forward.
Thanks for being great parents and caregivers. You will be proud of your people on Tuesday.