I have no idea how to help anyone get more dough. Too bad because we could all use a little more these days. But a couple of things lately have made me especially happy. Recently, one day after work I visited some students at Manley High School. It's just outside the Loop off the Eisenhower. My students were in the Umoja program, which guides them through high school and into college. The kids are at high risk to fail. Their challenges include low income, high crime, poor nutrition and housing.
Here's where I got my Happy on. Most of the kids were into it; a few were not. (Sudoku is NOT for everyone.) But I reminded them: Sudoku isn't math. It's about your brain! Do these puzzles and your brain gets better. After a few minutes, we identified all the 3's in the hard, 6-star, puzzle - and light applause broke out! Granted, it wasn't a roar. But it wasn't a snore. Seeing them have fun really was fun for me. We were clapping, all in this together!
One student - a tall, quiet young man - was particularly good at these puzzles. Amidst the tinkering and number shouting, he would just look up at me and say, "put a 6 in box H-7." "Why," I would challenge. I would walk over to his desk. "Show me why." And he would explain, "Well, if the three is here and the box is empty over there, then..." And he was right, every time.
We gathered before I left to take a group photo but he didn't want to get in the big picture. I insisted. He sheepishly looked down when everyone else said cheese. Walking out of the building a little later, I saw him on the steps. "You have a good brain," I said. He smiled and looked down. "I'm serious. You rocked those puzzles in there. You have a good mind. Keep it up." He smiled more, still looking down, and we parted ways.
The story in the news about making other people happy went so far as to describe some generous acts as almost selfish. Sometimes the giver gets more out of an encounter than the recipient. This was surely one of those times. There seemed to be such a fun sense of accomplishment in our little hour after school. But I'm sure the glow lasted longer on me as I drove away to my comfortable life.
Still, I wonder if there isn't some truth for all of us in my afternoon. If happiness imparted is happiness shared, then what's to keep you from giving it a try? Have you made a conscious effort to get through the muddle we're in with some positive action? I'd love to hear about that here.
I'm going back soon and we're going to play Bananagrams. Really, I can hardly wait!
And one more thing, now that I've got my Dudley Do-Right hat on. Two bits of info you might like.
1: Go to Recovery.gov and type in your zip code. It will show you how and where the $350 Billion spent so far on various stimulus projects are being used in your area.
And, 2: Call 1-888-995-HOPE to get someone to help you with a loan modification. You can also visit http://makinghomeaffordable.gov/. Keeping your house from the banks is a nightmare for too many of us. I've heard back from listeners who have called this Treasury Department number - it's a free service from the Federal Government - and they tell me they finally got some action from their bank!