A fundamental responsibilty for education Happiness comes from the Old Norse word 'happ', meaning 'luck' or 'good fortune'. Scientific research however provides us with an alternative source for the stuff- we can discover where happiness comes from and we can encourage it. Happiness is the most fundamentally desirable property (but do see Bentall, (1992) for a humorous alternative perspective). As Martin (2005) highlights in his great read Making Happy People, "With the sole exception of happiness, everything we humans desire can be regarded as a means to some higher end- and that higher end is usually happiness. People chase after money, power, material possessions, beauty or fame because they believe- often mistakenly- that these will bring them happiness. But no one ever seeks happiness in the belief that it will bring them some even higher benefit".  The manner in which we seek surrogates in our search for happiness is neatly illustated in Amelie Chance’s image below: We truly want happiness for ourselves and for our children. This is a fundamental wish, and far from a nebulous 'new-agey' goal. The evidence demonstrates that happy people are on average mentally and physically healthier, more successful in the classroom and in the work place, more creative, more popular, more sociable, longer lived and less likely to follow a life of crime or become addicted to drugs. If we know how, then teach them how... The growing body of research on happiness provides us with methods by which we can understand this 'ethereal stuff'- and help people be happier. Research on the heritability of happiness suggests that around 50% of the variance in a person’s happiness rating is genetically controlled- linked to aspects of personality. The other 50% then is fair game- happiness that we rate as a consequence of our environment and how we  have interacted with it. I believe that a core role of a school or college should be to help people maximise their current and future happiness. This role is not in conflict with the aim of maximising achievement or developing a lifelong love of learning. Happiness and  academic success are far from mutually exclusive.
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