Wise Words: Happiness

Some words in our language have natural beauty - happy is one of them.

Wise words from Girls Own Annuals, 1910

A happy state of mind brings joy and pleasure wherever you are.  However we have not been educating people to happiness, but only to unrest; to glimpses of the unattainable, and to contempt for the possibilities actually within reach.  

The constant endeavor to be like someone else in another walk of life is at the bottom of much present-day unhappiness.  It is this that makes the young woman of small means spend her husband's wages for imitations of handsome things.  It is this that makes a young girl starve herself to buy a hat with a huge plume. . . . . She has not been taught the great value of simple cleanliness and plainness; she has no sense of proportion.

I do hope that the education of the future will be better grounding in quiet morality and simple good taste.

Lets try and learn and teach our children that happiness is not a thing we are to have some time when we have moved into a more fashionable neighborhood, or their education is finished, or when we have more money.  We can all think of things we would like to do if circumstances were different.  Meanwhile let us do what we are doing happily, without the grumbling and complaining so common to the human race. 

Today this would be called "keeping up with the Jones".

Young girls may not be starving themselves to buy that hat with a huge plume, instead they are drowning in huge debts thanks to fast credit.  Once again not a lot has changed in 100 years.

I think the moral of this advise is be content with what you have rather than wishing for something out of your reach and we do not live in a society well skilled at being content.



  1. Great post Jo! 'content' is a word I've been teaching Rebekah since she was much younger. To make it simple for her 'a new toy will only make you happy for a minute and then you'll want something else. it's only Jesus that can make you truly happy' I think she really understands this even at 6.

  2. This is very wise and timeless advice! We waste a lot of our lives being discontent and wishing for what we don't have... We would be much wiser to take up an attitude of happiness and contentment and to enjoy today for what it is, just like what they wrote 100 years ago... and 2000 (approx) years ago in the Bible... or wait, it goes back even further than that because I think there are quite a few stories in the Old Testament that illustrate this lack of contentment (eg. think of the grumbling of the children of Israel when they left the slavery of Egypt)!! It can be very hard to be content when society is so focused on wanting to please self and "me, me, me"...

    Happiness and contentment are excellent things to teach your daughter, Rosemary... I've vaguely tried to teach my children, but I should focus on it more.

  3. Great post, and great comparison of credit debts and hat with plume.

    It is so true, we think that when we have this, when we get that etc. etc. We will be happy.

    Our gift is today, that why it is called the "present" we should thank the Lord for the opportunity of a new day and the chance to love and laugh with our loved ones.

    Thanks for reminding us,



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