Friday, 23 December 2011


N.B. All of the following 2 blogs are because I am reading ‘Do Nothing, Christmas Is Coming’ by Stephen Cottrell, ‘an advent calendar with a difference.’

Happiness: it’s what people think Christmas is all about isn’t it? And more than that – many people believe that they can buy happiness – with stuff and presents. Anyone want to volunteer an answer for how long happiness in stuff and possessions lasts with teenagers? How long before they are clambering, desperate, yearning: for the next game or the newest thing or the most recent music – otherwise they will be BORED!

If there is one word I have heard more than any other in all my time as a youth worker it is that one. Teenagers just don’t seem to be able to create things to do for themselves anymore. They need to be constantly entertained/in front of an electronic screen. It’s such a shame. I know my generation in general is almost as bad, but I remember days when my brothers and I would head off down the park for the day – and numerous occasions when the church youth group would head off to King George’s park and sit on ‘our bridge’. We would walk, chat, mess around, play football. Not a computer or games console in sight. I know it sounds stupid, but they are some of the happiest memories of my childhood. Days that were simple and innocent.

Nowadays, I only get times like that when I am over in the Philippines, at Joyland or Dacutan or Payatas: playing games involving a few scruffy flip-flops, and sometimes some even scruffier kids. When I am sad, I close my eyes and their smiles shine brightly in my mind.

The other thing that makes me truly happy is being in the outdoors. I was a Guide as a teenager, and I just loved going on camp. I had a few amazing friends around me, and being a tom boy – making fires and putting up tents and running around in a field for a few days was so much fun. I was reminded of this earlier in the year when I went on camp with some Uni mates. It was easily the best five days of this year – I felt free again. Free to run, scream, listen, sit, and become one with nature and the trees. God’s beautiful creation, and being a part of it, is one of the things that make me happiest of all. In the woods, it doesn’t matter how much money you have if you can’t make fire. It doesn’t matter how big your house is if you’re stranded in the middle of a forest. I love the outdoors life – and I just can’t get enough of it.

DNCIC recommendations for today:
·        It’s not what you have, or don’ have that counts. It’s what you do with it that counts.
·       So forget about what you don’t have; let go of the things you no longer have time to fit in. Enjoy what you do have instead, and make the most of the time you have now – after all it is the only time you possess with any certainty.
·     And why not start manifesting a few other crazy signs of happiness and goodwill. Say hello to the people you pass in the street, smile a bit more, and laugh at your adversities. I once read a survey comparing the number of times a child smiles each day compared to the amount an adult does. The difference was alarming. Children’s smiles outnumbered adults by about ten to one. Let’s bump up our average!

“People can’t concentrate properly on blowing other people to pieces if their minds are poisoned by thoughts suitable to the twenty-fifth of December.” Ogden Nash
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