Raising happy children

It’s actually not difficult, since children are naturally happy and find happiness easily.

All you really have to do is not actively undermine them and you’re already ahead.

I took to heart some painful lessons from my own childhood, and so with my kids I make an effort to:

Not belittle them, their efforts or their interests.

Not criticise, pick on, or draw attention to perceived faults.

Not mock, ridicule or laugh at them.

Limit the harm

We aren’t perfect. I get angry, frustrated, and can be petty or stubborn.

But I make an effort to limit the harm my bad mood might have on my kids.

I apologise to them, and explain that even if they’ve done something wrong, they aren’t to blame for my mood.

Sometimes our reactions as parents can be remarkably childish. It’s important to admit that and apologise rather than dig in and get defensive.

Focus on happiness

As part of my own efforts to be happier I’ve taught my son the “feeling game”, which is basically about finding good things to focus on rather than bad ones.

He’s taken to it with enthusiasm, and will even remind me of it when I’m frustrated or tired.

He has learned through his own experience that focusing on the wanted aspects of life is far more enjoyable than whining about the unwanted.

I don’t think we have to be perfect to be good parents. But I hope at least that my kids will grow up with a clear sense that happiness is accessible to them, and that my honest admission of my slip-ups and shortcomings on this path will aid them in their own journey.

The gift of satire

Sometimes it seems as though satire is the only reasonable response to frustrating levels of idiocy that are otherwise impervious to exposition. “Let me explain to you why you’re wrong” is unlikely to succeed when dealing with people whose degree of wrongness requires dramatic, interventive exposition in the first place.

Of course, satire is only funny when you agree with the perspective that informs it. I’ve never read satire I didn’t agree with…or maybe I did and didn’t realise it was satire? We’re all someone’s idiot after all.

Throwcase has put up another nice piece of satire, which is probably a little more poignant than usual because I think I might be a good teacher. I’ve been told by everyone who’s ever taught that I would slowly collapse in upon myself, crushed by the triple-burdens of pointless administrative tasks, corrosive children, and bellicose, bigoted parents. I hated school as a child – loathed it to the very depths of my being. That’s probably not a good sign.

There were one or two stand-out teachers, but looking back I suspect their good qualities were more a symptom of their own maladaptive tendencies than a sign of the school system at its best.

“I can’t wait to start my new class, which I call The History of the Individual,” he said. “It’s a 20-week course covering many iconoclastic figures of history who railed against the prevailing group-think of their time. My students will hopefully be inspired by the ones we all agree with now.”


Is it really satire though?

My wife-who-is-a-teacher laughed. That’s usually a good sign!

What we need is student-centred teacher-chauffeured information-friendly helpy happy time. In our model, no student will ever be presented with a fact they do not know, because studies have been done to suggest that a system without facts has some type of observable merit. We aim for creativity-focused classroom-independent sessions of mistake-based discoveries and Ipad-compatible group-insights, leading to objective-dependent funding-based eye-visible change.


This lovely bit of satire from Throwcase reminded me of an earlier article by a local Professor of Philosophy, as he compared modern university teaching methods to ‘Sexpo’:

There is a time for private, even introspective, activity in education. That is when people, who initially have been instructed by an expert, practice or rehearse on their own, trying to apply and improve what they have learned. This requires a capacity for solitude and sustained attention, another casualty of the online environment. Instead, students are offered group work and discovery-based learning (sometimes both at once! OMG! WTF!) to ensure that not even a minimal level of basic understanding is ever entirely their own.

I posted workable links back in September:



Doing what teacher says

Couldn’t help but repost this:

Finally, out of sheer desperation, Man started doing what his teacher had been telling him to do in every lesson for the past five years. “The results have been incredible!” said Man. “It’s as if following the advice of an older, more experienced musician allows me to somehow cultivate effective working habits better than my own.”