There was a report on the news yesterday saying that a survey showed a worrying percentage of teenagers were unhappy. My first reaction was that the percentage was not worrying, turn the stats around and lots of teenagers were happy. My second reaction, what’s new? My third reaction, when did happiness become ‘a right.’?
There are certain things in this
world that are considered to be ‘a right’. Food, housing, education, safety,
health care, these are the sort of things everyone should be able to access in
an ideal world. We know there are many places in the world where these things
do not exist. But happiness?
Happiness is an emotion that comes
from within a person’s psyche. The
richest person in the world could be unhappy, the poorest, happy. It all
depends on how that person views the world around them.
The thing that galled me most about
this report was the teenager the interviewers chose to make a statement. She
claimed she was, or had been, unhappy because she never received a Blackberry
for a present even though all her friends had one and she really wanted one.
News for this teenager. Having ‘things’
doesn’t guarantee happiness. Ask any number of adults who have raked up debt in
the pursuit of ‘things.’
I know parents’ spend a fortune on
trying to give their children things that will make them happy, but when it
becomes a case of ‘keeping up with the Jones’s’ then it’s time to explain the
facts of economic life.
But back to happiness. Happiness cannot
be guaranteed, it cannot be bought, it will never be universal. Contrary to the
song you can’t MAKE someone happy. Two people can share the same environment,
have the same background and the same prospects. One can be happy, the other
sad. There could be factors that make life difficult or distressing. It’s up to
the individual to learn to deal with these and find out how to resolve them.
That’s part of growing up. The world is not a happy place. Happiness comes from
within. The sooner teenagers, and the rest of us, realise this the happier everyone