I Am Happy T-shirts for Kids
We see on television and the computer all the time how hard it is for most kids to be able to say “I Am Happy.” Childhood depression, obesity, bullying and a thousand other pressures make it difficult for our kids to accept even the basic premise that they are happy. Many of us try to make our kids’ lives more fulfilling by offering them praise for the things that they are doing , but not many of us remember to address the basic hope that we have for our kids–that they be happy.
So Am I Just Supposed to Command Them to be Happy?
Certainly not. It wouldn’t work for you and it wouldn’t work for them. The t-shirt, however, offers the opportunity to put into action two valuable tools that may help your children understand that they are already happy. First of all, the t-shirt gives them a visual reference that brings the idea of happiness into their minds every time they see the shirt. Not just when they wear it–every time they see and recognize it. The association that they build between the shirt and feelings of happiness is so strong that they will want to wear the shirt every day.
Secondly, when your children are wearing the “I Am Happy” T-shirt, you are presented with both a reminder and an opportunity to talk about why your children or grandchildren are happy. I mentioned at the beginning of this post that there are many and varied reasons that kids might be unhappy, but the converse of that is the thousands of reasons that exist for them to be happy. Often, reminding them of those things in a situation that is judgement neutral can elevate their level of happiness, especially if you can get them to explore internally the things that are happening in their lives and the reasons that those things are cause for happiness. It can be as simple as asking while they are eating breakfast, “So, I see you’re wearing your happy shirt–what are you feeling happy about today?” In doing so, you not only cause them to focus on the things that are positive and that are sources of happiness in their lives, you also build an association to the shirt that serves as a recurring reminder that things are good, and that they are happy.
But All Kids are Happy, Right?
We hear the statistics about depression, anxiety, fear and the like all the time, but I think most of us assume that those must be other people’s kids, not ours. It’s important to bear in mind that children often haven’t yet learned to express their unhappiness in the ways that we expect and so we may misinterpret their energy and exuberance for happiness. The short answer is that kids learn everything they know from us, the adults in their lives. If we teach them that focusing on the good in their lives and accepting happiness is the norm and has value, that is what they will regard as being true, and that is what they will carry into their adult lives.
This is Just a Bunch of Lefty Hippy Feel Good Junk!
Well, it is feel good. But here’s the thing. People who describe themselves in terms of “I Am Happy” also tend to have incredible self esteem, are usually optimistic, consistently outperform peers who describe themselves as unhappy, earn more money, have more successful marriages, have lower levels of stress and tend to live longer. In addition, it appears that for most people, the perception of being happy or unhappy begins in childhood and remains throughout life though increasing in intensity–that is to say, unhappy children become REALLY unhappy middle-aged adults, and happy children become SUPER happy adults. Instilling the idea “I Am Happy” may not be putting your kids through the school of hard knocks, but it does seem to be the better life strategy.
How Does Fabulosokids Fit in to All of This?
We have produced the I Am Happy T-shirt for kids because we are dedicated to Fostering Positivity™, both as a company and as parents. In the macro sense, we recognize that America is losing its sense of optimism–a trait that has historically carried us through our most difficult trials as a people and as a nation. We need to refresh that optimism and make sure it continues into the future. On a more personal level, we have seen the ways in which being an unhappy child can hold a person back, and have seen with our own children the leaps and bounds that kids make when they are able to say, truthfully and enthusiastically “I Am Happy.” We hope to be able to share those insights with parents across the country, and with their children. We went to great expense and effort to develop Fabu™, the Florida Panther mascot who is featured on this shirt, because we wanted children to be immediately attracted to the idea of wearing it. It appears we have succeeded, with children 8 years old and under describing feelings of affection and friendship when talking about Fabu™. It is our greatest hope that one day we will get a note from someone telling them how the I Am Happy T-shirt helped change their outlook, or their child’s outlook.
What’s the Next Step?
No matter what, make sure you have frequent conversations with the children in your life about their happiness. They might be your children, or they might be grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins, students, parishioners, or even younger siblings. Be sure to do so conversationally, not following an emotional outburst on their part–doing that will only make them feel guilty. We hope that you will visit our store at http://www.fabulosokids.com and will take home a shirt or two to use as a tool to get those conversations going but no matter what, we hope that at least one more kid in America will soon be able to say “I Am Happy.”
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