Monday, January 23, 2012

Children as a Happy-Making Gift.

I have been synthesizing two lines of happiness research.

People who give more are more likely to report that they are very happy.

People who have children are more likely to report that they are very happy, even though children typically diminish their marital happiness.

I think it is very fruitful to think of raising children as a gift, a gift to society.

Giving the gift of raising children should make it more likely that you will be very happy.

3 comments:

ceemac said...

A common thread through some literature and movies is that the mega wealthy are often very miserable.

I don't know how accurate that description of those folks is.

But you would seem to suggest that their misery level would show a significant decrease if they would simply fire the wet nurses, governesses, bring the 10 yr olds home from boarding school and spend more time with their children.

gruntled said...

Makes sense to me. I think an important difference between the British and American ruling classes is that the British are much more likely to staff out raising their children. This attitude that children are best at arm's length seems to filter down the British class system, at least into the upper middles, much more than in the U.S.

JenniB. said...

ceemac, do you know anyone who had a wet nurse??? Really? I don't and I have known some very wealthy people. Governess? Who uses that word besides Mr Banks in Mary Poppins?

Anyway, a more common thread running through any good advice column, self help book and therapy session is you have to give in order to be happy. If you have nothing to give, you volunteer your time. If you have $$$ you better give it away. This is from Dear Abby, from therapists, from churches, from common sense.

I wonder if you can volunteer as a wet nurse? I will check Craigslist.