The Happiness Club
During the fall, at a nearby high school, there was a period set aside for the students to sign up for clubs. From what I heard, there are clubs available for just about every imaginable interest.
There’s the Jewish Federation Club. (You don’t have to be Jewish to join.) The Christian Fellowship. (You don’t have to be Christian either.) There are clubs for chess and debate and fantasy sports and Frisbee. There’s even a Cake-of-the-Month Club that might be about baking or maybe it’s for eating. (Probably both.)
As I learned about all the possibilities opening up in their young world, I couldn’t help thinking how great it is to have these opportunities for students to lead and belong and stretch in new directions. But I must say there was one organization that fascinated me above all the rest, that I’m still thinking about today.
The Happiness Club.
Apparently, the way it works is simple. You don’t really have to attend meetings. (Makes sense to me. A Happiness Club would understand that you don’t need another thing on your schedule.)
Well, if there are no meetings, then what’s this club about?
From what I understand, the idea is to promote positive energy as a way to offset the stress and drama that seem to be as much a part of high school life these days as, well, geometry and chemistry. The way you do that, apparently, is very simple. All you have to do is go around and give compliments.
How many kids signed up?
Just about everyone.
I’m not surprised.
If you think this sounds like a silly idea, think again. When is the last time you received a compliment? When did someone take the time to tell you that they genuinely appreciated something about you? Oh, I don’t know. Something as simple as saying they liked your jacket or they admired the way you presented your ideas at a meeting or they enjoyed the chicken casserole you made or they loved the story you told about getting stuck in the parking lot at the mall so much so that they wanted to hear you tell it again? Be honest. Didn’t it make you feel good? Didn’t it make you feel worthwhile? Didn’t it put a little spring in your step as you moved forward to take on the rest of your day?
The problem, as I see it, is that we all get so busy, so narrowly focused on what it is we have to accomplish that we don’t often look up and see the efforts of those around us. We tend to take a lot of things for granted. We’re all going so fast we barely notice the jacket, the presentation, the casserole, the mall parking lot story. And even if we do, we fly right by and on to the next thing.
When we’re traveling so fast, the scenery around us begins to blur until it’s almost invisible. Sadly, all that tends to get a reaction from us anymore are the potholes. The impossible assignment from our boss. The plumber who kept us waiting for hours. Our property taxes went up again.
I know we’re not in high school anymore but maybe there’s still room for new members of The Happiness Club. After all, you don’t have to fill out any forms, you don’t have to go to any meetings. There are no dues and no expectations. Except for one: When you go about your day, keep your eyes open for the good things. The people around you who are doing a good job, who are helping, trying, giving, loving, smiling. Give them a compliment. Maybe two. And someday, with any luck, they just might return the favor.
Photo by Andre Hunter