Author: Heath Fox, Head of Student Engagement
We want our students to find their happiness goal and we want to see them clapping to let us know they have found it.
Bobby McFerrin said it best in his classic song, ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’. In more recent times with a similar message, Pharrell Williams sprouted his joy to all the world with the lyrics, ‘clap along if you think happiness is the truth’ which, in some ways, seems more like a modern rendition of ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It Clap Your Hands.’ To me, this begs the question, how do we all get our hands clapping?
Humans are constantly chasing that pie in the sky, that mythical entity- happiness. What does it look like? Feel like? How much does it cost? They have got it and I want it. These are common thoughts, but I guess the truth is that everyone has a different version of happiness they are chasing, their individual happiness goals.
Martin Seligman is an American psychologist, educator, and author who has developed theories on positive psychology and well-being.
Seligman (2002) believes positive psychology takes you through the countryside of pleasure and gratification, up into the high country of strength and virtue, and finally to the peaks of lasting fulfillment, meaning and purpose.
This metaphorical description got me thinking…
The Tour de France. A grueling road bike race with competitors whizzing on bikes at breakneck speed through Europe; plotting, planning, and scheming how to attack the course and take the lead, using teamwork, and pushing their bodies to the limit. What a spectacle! What a competition!
Looking closer at this event though, I believe it is a great analogy for life itself. These bike riders are flying through some of the most beautiful countryside in the world. They are not there to take in the sights, or to stop and smell the flowers. There are no stops for social media posts, no selfies and sure as anything no stopping to enjoy some of the finer things in life along the way. They are there to do one job and one job only, to win the race and fulfill that happiness goal they have set for themselves.
I’m not saying these competitors have got it wrong, I’m saying that everyone has their own happiness goals they are striving to reach. Like the bike riders flying through the beautiful European terrain though, are we flying through our lives not taking in the beauty of it all? Are we simply chasing the ‘leader’ and caught up in the thrill of the chase of happiness? Are we reaching lasting fulfilment? Maybe if we stopped or even just slowed down for long enough, the resolution to our happiness goal might be right in front of us the whole time.
No different to you or I, at the MOB Academy our students are chasing their own happiness goals. For some, they have a very clear picture of what happiness looks like and for others, they can’t quite see a way through their current lifestyle or situation.
They, for the most part, have had issues at previous schools and a lot of students have dealt with varying levels of trauma in their personal life. For many of our students, their Tour de France road race is a foggy one, where they not only have to navigate the race but so many extra challenges that are thrown at them along the way. While a simple “don’t worry, be happy” will never be enough for our boys, our team is providing our students with layer upon layer of mentoring and support to help them build a better picture of their own futures.