In 2012, the United Nations declared March 20th International Day of Happiness. Last Friday was the world’s third celebration where the United Nations stated, “The pursuit of happiness is a fundamental human goal.”
There is a political element to the day with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urging member states to consider the impact peace and climate have on the potential for happiness of the “human family.” The UN Foundation also encouraged global citizens to sign the Live Earth Petition which urges world leaders to “sign a strong and meaningful agreement at the climate negotiations in Paris this year.” (For more on Paris 2015 COP21, click here.)
The day also recognizes that while happiness is fostered in conditions of peace, prosperity, human rights, and sustainability, happiness to some degree is a choice and individuals can take control it. The charity Action for Happiness has articulated Ten Keys to Happier Living, described here and summarized in the graphic to the right.
At BICS, we are focusing on the Virtue of Generosity for the months of March and April. This virtue flows well from the virtues of Kindness and Tolerance which were a focus in January and February. Generosity is both an act and an expression of kindness and leads to more kindness and generosity as it contributes to the happiness of all involved – givers and receivers.
So, part of generosity is giving. But as Ban Ki-Moon reminds us in his message of happiness for 2015 below, celebrating happiness also involves giving thanks for what makes us happy. Therefore, we can use our focus on generosity not only to encourage being generous to others, but also recognizing the generosity of other people and our planet. As spring is upon us and Earth Day is April 22nd, it is a fitting time to recognize how the earth so generously provides the necessities of life – food, water, and clean air. It is a fitting time to recommit to school initiatives to reduce the amount of garbage we produce through the encouragement of litterless and boomerang lunches.
Let March and April be a time where all members of the BICS community generously commit acts of kindness, for each other and the planet, and more fully appreciate the generosity of others and the earth.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon ‘s Message for 2015:
I wish everyone around the world a very happy International Day of Happiness!
The pursuit of happiness is serious business.
Happiness for the entire human family is one of the main goals of the United Nations.
Peace, prosperity, lives of dignity for all – this is what we seek.
We want all men, women and children to enjoy all their human rights.
We want all countries to know the pleasure of peace.
We want people and planet alike to be blessed with sustainable development, and to be spared the catastrophic impacts of climate change.
Let us give thanks for what makes us happy.
And let us dedicate our efforts to filling our world with happiness.