“Happiness is not something readymade. It comes from your own actions.”
– Dalai Lama XIV
We’re well into autumn, which in New England is a time of significant change in our surroundings and family rhythms. The days are shorter; the weather is cooler; deciduous trees dress themselves in brilliant golds, oranges, and reds before shedding their finery. The season increases energy and feelings of new beginnings and delight. It’s a time conducive to focusing on happiness – our happiness and that of our children and friends.
Our children have returned to school and are settling into the new school year. It is a little unnerving that their experiences and available teaching tools are so very different from what most of us experienced when we were in school.
I went to a parents’ curriculum night for my son, John Robert, last Thursday. Times have changed. I was very struck with the different attitudes and approaches to learning the teachers talked about. They care more about the reasoning and methods for solving problems than the fact of reaching the correct answer. The physical tools are amazing – smart boards, laptops, iPads, video, and so forth. And the available intellectual tools are awesome – word processing, calculators, tables, charts, and more. I do, however, feel that I learn much from John Robert and the new teaching attitudes and tools.
I remember having only a pencil and an eraser in my arsenal of tools. Blackboards and chalk are primarily tools of the past. I am sure that you can relate to the way it was when we went to school.
And then there is the Sasso main story that generates so much gratitude, joy, and sharing for us. The Eagle Tribune, Reading Magazine is developing an article about the Sassos’ unique story in an upcoming issue. Last week a professional photographer came to the house to take photos of John Robert, my husband John, and me. John Robert was over the top excited about the photo shoot and about being interviewed. His excitement is contagious.
The heart of the story is that John and I worked in cardiology for years and grew a cardiology company from $0 to $28M in five years. We left the company to have a baby and, ironically, our son was born with severe cardiac defects. Of course, no parent is really prepared for such an event. But John and I were grateful to be familiar with the world of cardiology. And fortunately, we could immediately launch the needed rescue effort by doing some research and connecting with the appropriate doctors and clinicians.
When John Robert was born, we knew that he would not be able to participate in any contact sports. So early on, we enrolled him in singing, swimming, dancing, and drama classes, and in Boy Scouts and altar services. As a very active 12-year-old, he consistently does his homework and does it very well; he was recently recognized as Student of the Week. But in addition, he participates in one of his many activities everyday of the week, including weekends. We are so proud of him. We feel so privileged to share the happiness of his remarkable successes. And I know that most parents share in the happiness of and are in awe of their child’s performance, whether it be studies, sports, or extra-curricular activities
So what is happiness? Positive psychologists say that positive emotions involve contentment with the past, joy and focus in the present, and hope for the future. Other factors include sharing activities and emotions, gratitude, love, being engaged in meaningful activities, and performing random and intended acts of kindness. Of course, the specific activities and relationships are different for each of us.
I loved my childhood, participated in dance and drama classes, and played softball. I still love to dance when the occasion arises but no longer play softball. Playing softball would undoubtedly help my fitness regime, but where is the time? Fortunately, I remain in close contact with several childhood and college friends. I now experience great joy in helping professionals develop their skills and abilities to their highest level and love seeing them thrive. I love watching and helping my son John Robert develop his many skills. It’s so much fun to share. And I have developed many new friendships and working relationships. I’m so grateful for all the good events and people in my life, and I’ve promised myself to keep them front and center this month. This is my current picture of happiness.
I hope you will also take time to focus on the components of your happiness. What do you remember doing as a child? What activities or things did you do that your parents shared with you? Are any of the activities you enjoyed as a child with you today? Do you still have friends from your school years, college years? What are the new activities you enjoy and new social relationships you treasure?
Are you ready to find a coach to help you focus on the activities and skills that can bring you happiness, a sense of well-being, and success? Contact me and we can talk.
With gratitude and best wishes,
Lisa Sasso, Executive Coach & Motivational Speaker