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Happiness is... Family?!

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What makes teens and twenty-somethings happy these days? You might be tempted to cite sex, money, and music as primary sources of happiness. You would be wrong. Among 13-24 year olds, according to a survey asked of 1280 people, spending time with family came in at top. Time with friends followed in the number two position, and time with a significant other was third. Almost no one said money as a source of happiness.

Seventy three percent indicated that a good relationship with their parents made them happy. In addition, when looking towards a role model, nearly half of the respondents mentioned one of their parents. Moms ranked higher than dads, though, with 29% of the vote. Dads garnered 21 %.

Other results tend towards the disconcerting. Most of the pollees generally felt happy with the direction of their lives, but the survey discovered a racial divide. Whites tended to be happier across all economic categories than blacks or Hispanics. And as for stress, kids noted a 10% higher rate than adults. For 13-17 year olds, school stressed them out. For those in the 18-24 range, jobs and financial matters caused worry. The middle class and women had slightly elevated stress levels.

The big question came down to the future, and whether today's youth will remain happy. Sixty-two percent of teens believed the future will hold greater amounts of happiness. Pollees in the 18-24 year old range were even more optimistic than their younger counterparts. However, many in both age groups anticipate a more difficult life than their parents' is in store.

Preview some of the lesson material:

Brainstorm: Brainstorm with a partner(s) words and ideas associated with "happiness" for 2 minutes. Spend another 5 minutes or less discussing the words and ideas together.

True or False? : Guess (before the article) or answer (after the article) whether the sentence is true or false. If false, correct the sentence.

  1. Spending time with family made young people the happiest.
  2. More dads were heroes to their children than moms.
  3. Whites were generally less happy than Hispanics.
  4. Kids had a lot less stress than adults.
  5. According to the article, the future will definitely be more difficult.

post-Comprehension: Talk about the following questions in pairs/groups. Remember to support your answers!

  1. Do you agree with the article that family is more important than sex, money, or music? Why/not?
  2. What makes a family successful? Why do you think so?
  3. According to the article, many think the future will be more difficult. What do you think? Why?
  4. Compared to now, did you feel more or less stress when you were younger? Why?
  5. If you won $1,000,000, would you be happy? Why/not?

Google Search: Type "happiness" into Google. Look at the websites, and/or read additional articles on this topic. Discuss or write an essay about your findings.

Download the lesson:



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