Get the ball rolling on being happy

September 06, 2012|Lisa Prejean

I really like teaching teenagers. They keep me on my toes and they are generally optimistic. Being around so much youth, energy and enthusiasm is a sure guarantee to lift the spirits.

The young people in my life provide a bright spot in my day. The time I spend with high-schoolers gives me insight into relating with them and helping them grow into adulthood.

If the truth were told, though, I also enjoy being around preschoolers. Each Wednesday night of this summer I had the privilege of working in our church's PeeWee Club program with a group of 4- to 6-year-olds.

They are just precious.

On a recent evening, the lesson focused on the importance of joy. I brought a ball, and we sat in a circle. I told children that we should each think of something that makes us happy. As I rolled the ball to someone, I would say, "__________ makes me happy."

The recipient would then roll the ball to someone else, while sharing a what-makes-me-happy statement.

I started with "PeeWee Club makes me happy."

The child who received the ball looked at me, looked back at the ball and looked at me again.

It's always hard to be the first one to go.

"What makes you happy?" I prompted.

"My Mommy makes me happy," the child responded.

"Oh, very good. Mommies do make us happy, don't they?"

After the first child got the ball rolling, so to speak, others were more eager to participate.

Most of the children shared that their families, toys and pets make them happy.

One little girl took the ball sheepishly when it came to her and quietly said, "A car makes me happy."

I smiled and said, "A car makes you happy? Your family's car?"

She nodded yes: "If we didn't have a car, we'd have to walk everywhere."

I smiled in agreement with her. Just think about that. It would be hard to walk everywhere we go. We should be happy when we consider our cars.

A few rolls later a little boy looked at the corner of the room and then looked straight up when he received the ball. We waited for a few seconds for him to speak.

"The ceiling makes me happy," he said, while looking at me with a nod and decisive grin.

I had just told the class to stay out of the corner because the carpet was damp from rain water that had seeped in the classroom.

"Oh, yes, if we didn't have the ceiling, we wouldn't have protection from the rain and we'd get wet," I said.

"Yeah, so the ceiling makes me happy," he said.

With that simple proclamation of thankfulness, my tired and weary spirit seemed to be lifted. A child's perspective on the world can be so heartening.

It's a good thing the ceiling was in place.

Lisa Tedrick Prejean writes a weekly column for The Herald-Mail's Family page. Send e-mail to her at

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