spread happiness


Before Stefan left last week, we corralled him at the dinner table for back-to-school advice, especially for Hans entering high school. He scarcely paused for a moment before offering these ideas:

1. Whatever subject you are taking, find a way to love what you’re learning. Think about how the subject will help you later in life or just decide to be fascinated with Trigonometry and European History. Passion for a subject will get you through all those hours of flashcards, essays and study.

2. If you are choosing between a class your friends are taking or a class where you will really learn something, always choose learning. Your friends will still be there on weekends, and besides, you get a 5 minute recess between every class. 😉

3. Become friends with everyone in your classes. Every person is worth your time and attention. You’ll see a lot of people who are stressed and unhappy at school. Since my happiness is taken care of at home, I decided to not worry about myself and focus on others. You’d be amazed how much people appreciate a smile and hello. Compliments are free. Give them out liberally, even if your friend looks at you a little funny when you congratulate him for outscoring the entire class on a test.

Every time you get a piece of candy (and it happens fairly often– teachers hand them out for correct answers or high test scores), don’t eat it. Give it away to someone who needs a smile. You can choose to enjoy the candy for just a moment or gift it to someone and change their day.

4. Organize your time. You can finish your homework, play sports and have a social life, but you won’t have time for dumb online games or TV. Even on days when you have hours of studying, take breaks by jumping on the trampoline, playing with your siblings or just riding your bike around the block. Study outside whenever you can. I can’t tell you how many times I was studying on the front porch when someone would walk past and say–“Oh I wish I had time to sit on the front porch and read.”

But when I asked Stefan about fitting in time for exercise and scripture reading, he looked at me with surprise, “I don’t fit those in; they are just a given.” Ah, so that’s the secret.

Good advice, yes? I’m following every bit of it. Happy new school year to all!

August 31, 2012



  1. Tracy

    September 7, 2012

    Oh this is beautiful. So wise. xo

  2. Becky

    September 7, 2012

    I’m going to print this out for my teenager to read! So great. Thanks Stefan!

  3. Mormon Women: Who We Are

    September 7, 2012

    Love this! Gonna share it with the kiddos, too.

    My favorite line? “Since my happiness is taken care of at home….”

  4. Kim

    September 7, 2012

    He is an amazing person! That was lovely to read.

  5. Tasha

    September 7, 2012

    Stefan is wise beyond his years. And that photo of Mary is incredible. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Blue

    September 8, 2012

    I shared this post. Hope it is okay to publish far and wide…it should be! (guest post on Segullah?)

    Love your boy. He’s beyond amazing. ♥

  7. jenjamin

    September 10, 2012

    love it!

  8. Cath

    September 11, 2012

    Love Stefan’s wisdom. And that photo is jubilant! So utterly joyful!

Comments are closed.