Monday, October 29, 2012


Last week we gave a Free Write journal assignment. For the first time in two months our students could select whatever topic they liked to write about rather than write on an assigned topic. After reading about 40 journal entries so far, I am surprised to see how many college students chose to write about happiness; what it is and isn't and how much it depends on money and material things. This seems to be weighing on their minds what the uncertainties they are facing in the future and the general difficulty finding employment in China right now.

They all have interesting things to say on this subject and each student defines happiness differently. But one thing seems to be a common thread is that happiness is a state of contentment rather than the acquisition of wealth.
Here is what one student wrote:

      "Living in the world, I think the most important thing is that you feel happy from the bottom of your heart. The problem is that, how do we define happiness?  For the patients who have long been tortured by the illness, health is happiness. For the poor who are always starving to death, a delicious meal is happiness. For the people who are wanted, a peaceful life is happiness. The definition of happiness varies from person to person. 
      "Many people have good health, eat delicious food and live a peaceful life, but they don't feel happy because they always want for more.  A famous philosopher once said: 'Nothing is bigger than a man's desire.'  It does make sense.  It seems that we can never be satisfied and happiness is always waving to us at a distance. Seldom do we know that happiness is around us, like air.  Our happiness lies in others' eyes, but we can't feel it.  While others are envying us, we are complaining about our life.  Until one day, when we lose one of the most important things we have always possessed such as good health, we will start to realize how happy we were, and begin to miss the old days and sink in sorrow. 
      "Man is always foolish.  we wish ourselves to be happy but we never allow us to feel happy.  Think of what we already have: good health, a harmonious family, a good university to study in, some close friends.  We are truely one of the happiest person in the world. On the way to pursue our dreams, never forget to bring a contented heart!"

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