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Roland Martin - Issue #5

Come on, get happy! Sing Hallelujah? Inspired to feel happy and grateful by a benedictine monk, a ret

Roland Martin

December 1 · Issue #5 · View online
Headmaster - City of London Freemen's school; Chief Officer - City of London - '...write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing' Benjamin Franklin

Come on, get happy! Sing Hallelujah? Inspired to feel happy and grateful by a benedictine monk, a retiring headmaster, a 50s screen idol and the American feast of Thanksgiving…

Much has been written by educationalists and life coaches alike about happiness. Most recently, there has been a great deal written about ‘happiness journals’ or 'gratitude diaries’. The celebration last week of the American adoption of a thanksgiving day, something predating even the Mayflower’s passengers, born out of gratitude for the harvest across many cultures, reminds us that it is, of course, right to give thanks and praise. Time magazine looks at why being grateful benefits your health.         
Thanksgiving Day 2015: Why Being Thankful Is Good for You
Benedictine monk, David Steindl-Rast, makes the point that we all want to be happy - perhaps not a surprise - but that to achieve happiness, we must all say thank you regularly. Here is his look at gratitude from the bottom up.
David Steindl-Rast: Want to be happy? Be grateful | TED Talk |
Something which we consciously decided to do with our littlest, when she was having trouble settling down to sleep, was to end her day by listing her ‘Three best things of the day’. Now that she’s ten, nearly eleven, it’s become part of our bedtime routine with her. Her 'things’ can be big or small - the cat sat still long enough for a really nice cuddle; the pudding at school today was particularly delicious; she got full marks in her spelling test; she heard the new Vamps album; she finished a brilliant book; she wasn’t last in a running race - and we have to add ours to the mix too. Some days are easier than others … which brings me on to this article which struck a chord this week.
Happiness in schools 'starts with the head teacher' - Telegraph
I see this article as providing a challenge for Heads who constantly need to remind themselves of the impressions that they give and the influence that those impressions can have on the internal ‘mood’ of a school.

And while we are flipping pyramids, this useful potted jump-off from a former colleague, Geoff Riley, points us as educators and parents to a variety of resources to help manage our young charges’ happiness. The Time to Change resources are particularly easy to access.
Mental Health resources | The Professional Teacher | tutor2u
It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t allude in my survey of happiness to the most eminent of Happy Heads - perhaps that should even be his epitaph.  I’m a great fan of parodies done well; Sir Anthony nails it in his last Speech Day video.  Enjoy…
Happy - Dr Seldon - YouTube
Speech Days are themselves of course an act of thanks and fitting that this particular one celebrated so creatively Sir Anthony’s stewardship.

Finally, I leave you with Judy … whose seemingly happy-go-lucky song from 1950 is deeper than it might at first appear …
Judy Garland - GET HAPPY - YouTube
In advising that we get ready for the judgment day, and wash all our sins away, she is certainly advocating for a spiritual connection to happiness. 
It is right to give thanks and praise, not least in our schools and homes. And possibly especially at this time of the year… 
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