The Pursuit of Happiness
By Lou Scotti
What are the tools required for happiness… and do you as a parent have the ability to provide these tools for your children?
The pursuit of happiness is a right of all our children, or is it. Yes pursuing happiness is something we can all do, but for any human right to be perusable and obtainable, the tools necessary to traverse the path to the destination must be available. Happiness is a consequence of specific beliefs and behavioral skills. Without having the specific knowledge and skills to develop the beliefs and behaviors that allow for “The Pursuit of Happiness” by an individual, the goal has limitations on its fulfillment. Saying everyone has a right to happiness or that you want equality in providing the availability to peruse happiness, without providing the basic knowledge and skills that allow success and well-being, is an empty promise. We need to stop the unavailability of happiness that is a direct consequence of not offering to parents the developmental and experiential knowledge which is critical for better grades, future success, personal growth and well-being, or the pursuit of happiness.
If we provide families with the basic building blocks for these crucial skills we may be focusing on the root enabler of success and well-being, and the possibility of happiness. When families have frequent conversations on important topics children develop intrinsic, underlying supportive skills in the form of patience, optimism, self-esteem, emotional control and self-regulation. Over time frequent conversations on these important topics build up a residual or reserve of these underlying supportive skills that a child carries with them into the future. Why not learn and teach these skills to ourselves and our children? How do we teach these skills to ourselves and our children? Good questions!
A lack of proper support earlier in life teaches children to feel unsafe, afraid, distrustful, unsupported and unoptimistic. Without learning how to be wrong and defer ego reactions and their facsimiles, a person will not develop the skills necessary to be successful and happy. When children have the proper underlying supportive skills they are able to peruse success and happiness. If they don’t have these skills they will not be successful and happy. Giving parents the knowledge and methodology for practicing and implementing these underlying skills will better support children and builds up this residual of underlying supportive skills, creating positive self-perception about the ability to succeed and be happy as a consequence. A parent does not need to be perfect to better support their child. A few simple consistent conversations and practices can increase a child’s perceived value. As the child learns through these conversations on important topics a parent increases their own positive self-perception in their ability to contribute to their child’s success, increasing the desire to interact more. At ‘conversations we all should have’ we take families through a course of conversations on specific topics. These conversations help develop the factors that build the underlying supportive skills of patience, optimism, self-esteem, emotional control and self-regulation.
Instead of aiming at improving the grade point average or correcting anti-social behavior, why not first allow individuals and families to learn these interaction skills through frequent conversations on important topics. This experiential and developmental learning allows a child to develop the underlying supportive skills that build a residual of patience, optimism, self-esteem, emotional control and self-regulation. Then learning in the classroom is easier and there is less need to act out for recognition. When we feel safe and supported, grades and societal interaction improve naturally. We need to recognize that if we impart certain skills at the proper time in early childhood and youth, we increase the success potential of a child. Doing this will decrease less productive social interaction and behavior in kids and adults later, increasing the ability to actually peruse the happiness we are supposedly endowed with.
WHAT WE KNOW
1) We know specific key factors in early in life permit success later in life.
We know these key factors depend on the development of specific skills in early childhood and youth.
2) We know these skills are learned through proper practice.
3) We know that parents want to learn these skills for themselves and their children.
1/ We know specific key factors early in life preclude success later in life. These key factors are Patience, Optimism, self-esteem, emotional control and self-regulation. These skills manifest in the following ways:
- The ability to make choices dependent on intrinsic factors and interests, not reactions to external stimulus, meaning kids have their own mind.
- Understanding ones identity through one’s values, beliefs and goals.
- Adaptability and flexibility in different situations and circumstances to maintain productiveness and effectiveness. (coping and resiliency)
- Self-regulation, the ability to recognize various feelings and behaviors and control and improve them, make choices in order to have a positive future. (Learning to recognize one’s strengths and weaknesses, the ability to learn and improve, to relinquish ego barriers to learning.)
- The ability to understand and relate to the world and others with a set of values and principles to live by and develop positive relationships.
2/ We know these skills are learned through proper practice.
- Practice is the only way to learn yet when it comes to the most important and critical skills required for personal development, success and happiness we have failed to establish and develop practice for their enhancement. Why not develop a course that allows parents and children to have all the conversations they need to with methodology for developing the skills required for success and happiness. To learn more go to conversationsweallshouldhave.com
- When parents have Conversations on important and difficult topics and have methodology for practicing certain skills we can increase a child’s success and happiness potential.
3/ We know we should teach these skills to families and youth now.
- The knowledge is out there but there are few real programs that offer the methodology for practice and development of these life skills in the home. Learn more at conversationsweallshouldhave.com
- A key function of any program is implementation through proper facilitation.
When families have frequent conversations on specific topics many of the underlying supportive facets of success and well-being develop as a natural consequence. There is no need for parents to do extensive research on what gives kids the skills that allow for success and happiness. When parents have frequent conversations on specific topics, many of the dynamics related to developing the underlying supportive skills that allow future success and happiness, naturally manifest as a result of these frequent conversations. Through various discussions children becoming aware of emotions in one’s self and others. They learn to regulate ones feeling, develop empathy in understanding others, learn that their inner emotion does not have to be acted on and that their expression of emotions can have an effect on others and themselves, they develop relationship skills both interpersonal and intrapersonal and develop self-efficacy and self-regulation.
There are many books that give all the right information. People read these books and get inspired to improve their lives and the lives of their family. But without practice methodology and development of positive habit through consistent experiential practice there will be no change in neural pathways contributing to change and habitual formation in the long run. Short term strategies are detrimental and reinforce an incorrect short term quick fix mentality. Quick fixes unfix quickly. When the desired goal is not achieved or short lived, through short term unaccountable methodology, there is a further and deeper experience that verifies continued failure and in doing so diminishes optimism and hope in the individual. It is imperative that any program or course pertaining to family growth should focus on a long term frequent practice methodology. The continuation of quick, fast and immediate results thinking is a detrition of the true values that allow the cultivation of success as a function of well-being. Nothing of value is gained quickly. Success is too often viewed in terms of wealth and fame alone. This disassociation of well-being and its intrinsic contributors to real success encourages the proliferation of greed, a lack of accountability and consequences for actions associated with reduced standards to reach goals quickly and with the greatest profit. The wisdom of knowing that fast or quantity without quality predicts eventual failure and unhappiness must be instilled into actionable content in our children. Parents need to go through a program of some length (three months or more) to develop the habits in themselves and their children.
The goal is to get the proper knowledge and skills into a child’s way of thinking, feeling and behaving at the ages when they are most receptive and do so with the support of parents, caregivers and the community. Changing ideas or behaviors later requires replacing ideas, and although change is a constant and necessary aspect of life it would be better to get the basics knowledge for success and happiness right the first time. Then instead of later needing to fix the foundation, we only need as individuals to do interior alterations, much easier.
Practice of any skill is required for learning yet most people fail to deliberately and intentionally practice the most important skills that allow for success, well-being and the pursuit of happiness. Sometimes as parents we don’t completely understand how to teach these skills to our children. How could we. Teaching these skills is not a main stream ideology. I believe it should be. We want to be our best self and be happy yet fail to recognize the need, or have methodology for practice. Talking about a topic such as self-control, self-discipline, communication, peer pressure, choices and consequences and other topics is only the very beginning of the learning process. Most parents stop with meager comments or limited discussion on important topics. We need a method for establishing standards, practicing and accountability to allow personal potential to be realized. Practice strengthens neural pathways in the brain leading to habit formation. Change only occurs when habit is formed. Practice needs to be deliberate and intentional, redundant and specific. Practice works best with support from respected adults and peers that offer motivation, challenge, reward, strategies and immediate feedback that offers better choices. A program such as Conversations We All Should Have allow families and individuals to invest in themselves with supportive methodology for learning and practicing important personal skills.
The underlying supportive factors, resiliency and protective factors in the form of patience, optimism, self-esteem, emotional competence and self-regulation help children and youth deal more effectively through the challenging circumstances that life presents. This enhances positive feelings of self-efficacy, prosocial behavior and further supports relationships with family and peers. These personal skills lead to greater opportunity for success and well-being.
- We should not focus on content knowledge as sole indicator of future success and well-being
- Developmental and experiential knowledge is critical for better grades, future success, personal growth, relationship development and well-being.
Everybody’s got their fight. Let’s give everyone the chance to hold their own.
Contact me, let’s have a conversation about being better
With Faith & Gratitude
About Lou Scotti:
Lou Scotti is a family and youth interaction specialist, educator, speaker and founder of Conversations We All Should Have. Lou believes that to live a good life, a person should learn to do something of value, very well and then use what has been learned to serve others. Lou noticed that there was no real programs that focused on the key factors in early childhood and youth which are responsible for success and happiness later in life. Lou wondered why these skills were not being formally and intentionally taught to families and individuals. Lou made it his mission to take the current success and happiness research and create an educational resource in a program/course that provides parents and families access to credible knowledge and methodology for practice and development of these skills. With there being a gap in this area and so many parents seeking a reliable source of knowledge and methodology for personal, family and child improvement Lou feels confident in his ability to contribute to the betterment of families and children. Conversations We All Should Have offers improvement of family, child and youth through learning and practicing developmental and experiential knowledge and skills. These skills provide the underlying support that buildup resiliency, protective, mental, emotional and behavioral factors that support success and happiness.
Lou is a graduate of Adelphi University & NYU Post Graduate Medical. A former NYU Post Graduate Medical School instructor. Lou is a highly proficient teacher with vast experience in developing and implementing educational programs. Lou chaired and developed entrance criteria and acted as lead instructor for federally granted program at the Educational Opportunities Commission, Bronx, N.Y… Having designed and facilitated after school and summer programs for youth Lou understands what children want and need. With considerable knowledge of the effects of human interaction in early childhood and youth on success and well-being, Lou is eager to support those that recognize the need to learn and improve.
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