Monday, November 8, 2010

Happiness- Day 6

Today, as part of my 30 day blog challenge, I am supposed to show a picture of something that makes me happy... so here are two...



Yup, kids make me happy.

I realize you cannot see the faces on these kiddos which makes them far less cute. However, I have a strict no kids pictures on the blog rule- so this is the closest to breaking it I am going to come.

You may be surprised to hear that kids make me happy, since they are much more frequently making me annoyed, stressed-out and often a total crazy person. However, I recently read a really amazing description of the effect of children on happiness in The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. She was referring specifically to the effect of a child on their parents happiness, but I found it related to how my students affect my happiness...

She was discussing the fact that while most people state that their children are a major source of happiness, one study that watched a women's emotions during their daily activities found that "child care" was only slightly more pleasant than commuting. Hmmm...

Gretchen says, "In many ways, the happiness of having children falls into the kind of happiness that could be called fog happiness. Fog is elusive. Fog surrounds you and transforms the atmosphere, but when you try to examine it, it vanishes. Fog happiness is the kind of happiness you get from activities that, closely examined, don't really seem to bring much happiness at all- yet somehow they do."

Other examples of fog happiness include hosting a party (preparing, cooking, managing everyone, cleaning up afterward- hmm why is this fun?), running a race (waking up early to train? waking up even earlier to run wait to run the race? running up hills? point made...), even cooking a nice meal can be fog happiness when you are running around like a crazy person trying to get the timing of it all right.

Teaching is fog happiness.

On any given day, it involves arriving at school in the dark, trying to plan activities that will engage the kids while also meeting the academic needs of 21 very different children while also balancing the ridiculous standards set by people who are not teachers and don't know my kids, setting up said activities which always include an absurd number of materials... this is all before 8 am. After that, things get even more fun... I try to actually teach planned lessons while battling bathroom accidents, attention seeking behaviors, inability to sit still, "developing" social skills, and general lack of caring for any adult authority. Just when I think it's all over, I usually have to attend some kind of pointless meeting in which some equally pointless work will be assigned. And don't get me started on parent e-mails...

When closely examined, there is no happiness here, only stress, anxiety, anger, frustration and a seemingly endless supply of work to do. But when you look at the big picture, that I have helped teach 101 children how to read, that I have shared in the happy experiences of 101 kids, that I have hopefully made some of the bad experiences a little better, that I have received thousands of cute notes written in "kindergarten spelling," that I have the power to make (and hopefully not break) a child's day... well, it's kind of cool. Plus there is just nothing more amazing than seeing the world from the eyes of a kid...

This brings me no closer to wanting the fog happiness of parenthood... or hosting a party haha.

What brings you fog happiness?


  1. kids make me happy too. part of me wants to nix the whole doctor thing and go into teaching. but i guess that's why i want to go into peds.

  2. Love this! Hmm... fog happiness. I think of those nights where you're with your best friends, laughing, drinking, doing nothing of importance or anything so concrete you remember it later, but you're just overwhelmingly happy and content the entire time.

  3. Kids make me so so so so soooooo happy!

  4. This is really interesting! I'd never heard of 'fog happiness' before.

    I guess training for and running endurance events is the fog happiness, like you described above. Also cooking. I really love to cook but sometimes it can be exhausting and stressful but in the end I always seem to enjoy it so I guess that's the fog happiness kicking in!? Haha

  5. That is really interesting about fog happiness -- and it is SO TRUE! Many of the things that make me the happiest (ie being a nurse, running, cooking) -- I will sometimes approach with a "do I HAVE to?!" attitude. However, once I Get going on these activites -- I'm in a total fog of peace, happiness, and joy!

    That is so great that you have a career that makes you feel this way. You inspire so many children each day, whether you realize it or not!

  6. I am right there with you! Kids are wonderful, aren't they?!

  7. Interesting concept - that makes a lot of sense! I had The Happiness Project on hold at the library but missed my turn when it became available. Drat! Will have to try again.

  8. I like that description of "fog happiness" and think it definitely applies to kids. Yesterday, I cleaned 6-7 poopy diapers, was spit up on several times, and walked the halls for hours to console a restless infant (while singing every song I know!). Couldn't be happier!

  9. I love the concept of Fog Happiness - it is so true. I felt that way about marathon training. When I was in the thick of it, it was kind of exhausting me and wearing me down at times. Then I remembered how lucky I was to be able to train for and run 26.2 miles. And the race was a total success.

    I also feel the same way about preparing a meal at times as I can get a little 'stressy' about it, but then when you sit down and take that first bite, it's worth it all.

  10. Teaching is the most giving of all professions, and has the opportunity of providing the most Happiness.

    We have a lesson plan for teachers to present Positive Psychology (The Study of Happiness) on our website at

    Thanks, and Be Happy,

    Gregory Barsh, Esq.
    Chief Happiness Officer
    ruHap, The Happiness Company
    Follow our blog, How to be Happier, at
    Twitter: ruHapIndex

  11. I totally get what you mean!! I have loved working with kids and only wish I knew that as an undergrad! I cannot wait til I have my masters and can teach! :)

  12. I Like kids.If you want to find real happiness, go to
    I got my happiness.

  13. awesome post. I love the fog happiness explination.