The Key to a Lifetime of Happiness

Have you thought about what truly brings you happiness?

A few days ago my 4 1/2 year old was in a crying frenzy because she couldn’t go somewhere with her brothers and their friends. She was tired, so it was overly dramatic and I was having a hard time consoling her.

I carried her to my bed and as we lay there, I asked her if she wanted to talk about all the things that make us happy. She was still crying so I started with a few things that bring me happiness…

Snuggling with you
Watching a movie
Going to the beach (my #1 happy place!)

When I asked her what makes her happy, she got a huge smile on her face and said “Candy, sooooo much candy!” (The girl has a major sweet tooth!) We talked about her house that would be filled with candy. The walls made of chocolate bars and KitKats. The bed made of Twizzlers with a marshmallow pillow. The lamp  would be a big lollipop. Ice cream, gum, M&M’s and cookies were all incorporated in there.

She was so happy by the time we were done fantasizing that she didn’t ever remember being upset.

A few days later, out of curiosity, I  decided to ask my 6-year old son the same question. What makes you really happy? He said “Santa and my birthday.” Pretty expected answer, what kid doesn’t love getting presents?!

His third response was “Giving people things that they don’t have. Like turkey on Thanksgiving. And clothes and toys.”

It was one of those moments when I was so thankful for his reminder.

It made me realize how important it is to teach giving to our kids. It is an area that I need to improve, so I was grateful that he understood the importance of helping others even though I haven’t done the best job showing him.  It also got me in gear to set our Thanksgiving volunteer plans. I figure no time better than the present in setting a new Thanksgiving tradition of giving.

He was also spot on. Research shows that helping others does make us happier!

So, yes, candy and the beach and presents absolutely do make us happy in the moment.

If you are looking for a long-lasting type of happiness – kindness and giving and selflessness need to be on the list! And it sure doesn’t hurt to teach our young ones this lesson early on.

This Chinese Proverb sums it up!


If you want happiness for an hour — take a nap.
If you want happiness for a day — go fishing.
If you want happiness for a year — inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime — help someone else.
Chinese Proverb


Do you have any Thanksgiving traditions that involve helping or giving to others??