Saturday, November 27, 2010

Happiness and Pessimism

How happy are we? Are human beings supposed to be happy all the time? Are physical pain, mental anguish, suffering, and regret part of everyday life? Is pessimism a more predominant part of who we are, or is it happiness? Can we be happy and positive all the time? Is it wrong to be a realist and a pessimist? Can a person be both without being shunned by society as a "toxic" individual? Such labels are hard to overcome once imposed on someone. We do it with children at an early age. Schools are notorious for doing so in kindergarten and even day care. If a child is a little more active thant he average one, he/she must be put on meds to control his/her hyperactivity. If a child is quiet, he must be autistic.

I remember my daughter's first grade experience at the age of 5. She was really tall for her age and very mature. Since school started in September and she was born in November, she was two months shy of the "legal age" for school. She was ready in every way but she was very shy and quiet and certainly overwhelmed by the presence of all her classmates. The impatient and unqualified teacher immediately labeled her mentally retarded and thus had to be put in a special education class. This label was placed on her after less than a day of interaction or lackthereof. My daughter was overwhelmed with everything and kept quiet the entire day. This would have earned her a lifetime of special ed classes. I took her out, enrolled her in a private school and she thrived in gifted education with a higher than average I.Q.

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