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Saturday
Mar032012

Are We Too Obsessed with Happiness? 

You should be happy. We all need to be happy. From blogs to books to radio shows to inspirational tweets, happiness is being flaunted the ultimate goal and something we should all be aspiring toward. We're obsessed with happiness and our obsession may, in fact, be making us unhappy.
What is meant by happiness is somewhat elusive. There is no definition that will truly make everyone...happy.

This issue was explored recently on a repeat broadcast of the CBC Radio Ideas episode called "Say No To Happiness" by producer Frank Faulk. I tuned in eagerly and listened carefully because it is something that I often question as I pursue things that I think are important, but that sometimes cause a lot of heartache and grief. And, happiness is a topic that often comes up as it relates to parenting.

I wrote about that a couple of years ago in a post called Grin and Bear it? Parenting, Happiness and the Pressure Cooker, where I explored the pressure that society puts on mothers and that mothers put on themselves to do it all, all the while, however, telling them that they should be "happy".  In that post, I concluded that each of us is responsible for finding our own route to happiness and communicating that to those who are around us. Looking back at what I wrote, I certainly still believe that we need to figure out what our own needs are and that we need to communicate that to others so that we don't take too much on. However, I'm not so sure that happiness is the goal we need to have in sight at all times. The CBC show helped me to better understand and articulate that.

It is desirable to be happy, for sure. But happiness as a goal is shallow.  The CBC documentary explains:
If happiness is your compass to navigate through the complexities and ambiguities of life, it means that if something is negative or problematic, that is the wrong direction to move into.

When your values become your compass, it is very different.

Parenting, activism, professional accomplishments, and other worthwhile pursuits, don't necessarily make us happier, but they do give our lives meaning and depth. When people take time away from their own happiness to do something that really matters, they often have to accept some level of anxiety, dread, and stress.

If we try to push anything and everything negative out of our lives, we will spend our time running away instead of conquering things. In the moment, that may make us happier. But will it truly make us happier in the long run?

On twitter the other day, @mrsnickcharney asked "Is it better to know you know nothing, or just know nothing?"  Personally, I think it depends whether you are motivated to change the situation or not. If you would prefer to wallow in your ignorance, it is probably better to just know nothing. But if you are motivated to expand your mind, then it is probably better to know that you know nothing, so that you can do something about it.



The Ideas show concludes:
A better approach than having happiness as the ultimate end point is to do things you care about. We're not talking about happiness. We're talking about engagement. We're talking about meaningful pursuits.

I agree. I think the more we know, or the more we know that we don't know, the less likely we are to be classically and simply happy, but the more likely we are to do things that are fulfilling and truly make a difference.

What would you prefer? To be blissfully happy or to do epic shit?

Image credit: Mat Honan on flickr
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Reader Comments (41)

We can't be happy all the time. I strive for contentment in my life. I want to be content with where I am. I try to stop and enjoy the moments of happiness and keep walking through the tough times.

March 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrie

mm, you need to tie this to the whole "having kids makes you less happy, says study .. though it does bring you more joy .. or something".

i've done a lot of interesting things (in that "may you live in interesting times" sense of the word) and that is where my happiness/contentment/"feeling good with the world and myself" lies. when you're really in it up to your eyebrows, if you had a "i feel happy right now!" clicker, you might not be clicking it every 10 minutes. but at the end of the day, you can still be satisfied with how you're spending your time - and still want to dive back in the next day.

so - right back up to your first pull quote. the meaning of happiness is hard to pin down. for me, doing epic shit (and that includes raising kids) makes me happy. maybe not *minute by minute*, but in a deep, life-appreciating, powerful way.

March 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLori

I think this quote is key: "What is meant by happiness is somewhat elusive. There is no definition that will truly make everyone…happy." Because happiness is in and of itself so tricky to define it's hard to make a distinction between pursuing happiness and doing epic shit. I think that if you're pursuing happiness in a purely hedonistic, avoidant way then it's a short term deal. To use an extreme example, it might feel great to be high but I don't think anyone will make the argument that people in an opium den are happy people. Happiness based on pleasure seeking be it from physical or emotional highs is always fleeting. You've got to have some kind of deeper goal or purpose in mind to have any sustainable sort of happiness. So in that sense you can't be blissfully happy unless you're doing your own version of epic shit.

March 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLarks

I think that's one of the goals that Cora taught me. Happiness is always fleeting, and just because you aren't happy, doesn't mean that you aren't proud, fulfilled or living the life you want to live. My life is better since my daughter died. Thanks for writing this Annie. It's important, and I'm going to go find the CBC piece now.

March 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKristine

As a person with depression, I think that calling happiness a shallow goal can only be said by a person who has plenty of it. My life has meaning and depth, worthwhile pursuits, activism, professional accomplishments, and I'm also involved in some pretty epic shit. But I'd trade some of all of that to have a bit more happiness.

March 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterIssa @ LoveLiveGrow

YES! You've articulated something that's been in the back of my mind for a while now in relation to blogs. Fairly often I find a new blog through a link in one I read. Maybe a guest post or just a mention, but it sounds interesting. Then I go to the blog & find it full of professional engagement/wedding/baby/family photos, the blogger's personal love story, etc, which all just seem to be screaming, "Hey! Look at me! Look how happy I am!" I don't feel like I'm anywhere near as happy as this person is presenting herself to be & I start to wonder if I'm somehow doing it wrong. Then I think, "Nah, it must all just be fake," & I don't bother adding them to my RSS feed.

I want to read the blogs (like this one) where people talk about REAL life, where they have problems sometimes, where everyone isn't airbrushed-looking, sitting in a show home. I like to look at beautifully designed homes/clothes/products sometimes, but I can't stand it when blogs I read keep up the facade of eternal happiness & perfection.

March 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Issa:

I don't think happiness begins where depression ends. Depression is an illness and is something that is absolutely worth treating. I don't think, however, that someone who is not depressed is necessarily happy. But perhaps that comes back to the issue of there being no commonly accepted definition of happiness.

March 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Lori:

Yes, absolutely. In my older post that I linked to here regarding happiness and the pressure cooker, I wrote:

I don't think that having children makes you happy and I don't think that not having children makes you happy. Children, certainly, can contribute to or take away from the things that make you happy. In fact, I can pretty much guarantee that most children will do both, regularly.

I had children because I wanted to be a parent, felt they would contribute something positive to my life and that I could contribute something positive to theirs. I didn't do it to become happy (or to not be happy!). Putting that burden on their shoulders wouldn't be fair.

March 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

That is a good philosophy, Brie.

When I tried to define what happiness means to me previously, I think maybe I was describing contentment. I wrote:

For me, being happy means:

That my daily activities and interactions are, on the whole, rewarding and interesting
That I am not too stressed out
That I'm getting enough sleep, exercise and good nutrition
That I get to interact with people who care about me and people whom I find interesting

I think I get that most of the time, but certainly not all of the time (especially during busy periods at work). Looking back, however, I wouldn't say that necessarily makes me happy. It does make me content, however, and more able to enjoy both the moments of happiness and the epic shit.

March 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

I just read Gretchen Rubin's "Happiness Project." She constantly makes the point that when people are happy, they do more good. And the people around them are happier as well. If she is right, individual happiness has a positive effect on others--it's not selfish. Her happiness project had mini-goals, most of which involved taking better care of herself and showing kindness to others.

Also, I think you're being a little unfair--Rubin, at least, recognizes that conflict and growth are important to achieving happiness. It doesn't mean running away--it means accepting your responsibilities and limitations with equanimity. You can be happy without denying responsibility. On the other hand, Rubin has a fairly easy life. Her husband does the cooking and she never mentions laundry or housework, a major source of stress for parents.

Sometimes parents seem flippant about justifying their parenting choices, saying that the choice makes them happy. Parents must balance their own needs with those of their children but there is a limit. On the other hand, who am I to judge?

I don't think it would be fun to grow up with parents who are making epic change, but are unhappy and unpleasant to be around.

Lisa--I know what you mean about those blogs. I'd rather be real.

Thanks for the inspiring post! Puts things in perspective for me! :)

March 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKatadia

Good post. I agree that pursuing happiness on its own is a shallow endeavor. I think happiness is a by product of pursuing meaningful pursuits or other decisions you make in your life.

March 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKeAnne

To be clear, I said that the pursuit of happiness as an ultimate goal is shallow, not that it is selfish. I have seen the studies that say that happiness rubs off on others (and, in particular, that http://thebadmomsclub.com/2011/04/bad-moms-dont-fake-a-smile.html" rel="nofollow">put a lot of pressure on moms to be "happy" so that their kids will be happy too).

I guess if I look at Rubin's goals (she is interviewed in the documentary podcast this post is based on, by the way), I see taking good care of yourself and showing kindness to others as worthwhile goals. If those have a side-effect of making you happy and making others around you happy, then great. But I wouldn't pursue those for the sake of happiness, especially if that came at the expense of something else that I felt was important or life-changing.

March 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

KeAnne:

I think that overall, in the long run, that may be true. But on a day-to-day basis, some of those meaningful pursuits may cause us grief or stress. So if people are pursuing happiness as their end goal, they may avoid those things if they can't see past today to that future state of being better off.

March 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

Well, to answer the question you pose: I would want "blissful happiness." I think that sounds fabulous. And if it was possible, I'd take it in a heart beat!

I did have a recent discussion with a friend of mine (Lisa Sansom) who has just completed graduate studies in positive psychology, and she did specifically note the state of "contentedness" (that Brie and others have mentioned above) is what they generally use in their studies rather than "happiness." That underscores your point that even if pursuing a hard-won goal was difficult and stressful, it still leaves the sense of "contentedness."

March 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercoffee with julie

I am not a fan of the word happy, happy for me is a temporary state that always leaves whereas joy is something that can be present even in the midst of adversity.

I am closing out one chapter of life and getting ready to enter a new phase and my focus has been on being content and present no matter what I face. Oddly enough it works for me far better than the ever elusive happy. I do think overall if we stopped focusing so much on being happy that we would be in a better place as a society.

March 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBlackgirlinmaine

Interesting points, Annie - I agree with you that seeking meaning and contentedness are more productive, and more likely to be successful, than seeking pure happiness.

Coincidentally, I read this article about American parents' search for perfection and the seemingly insatiable desire to stereotype other nations' parents as better than Americans: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/whats-so-bad-about-american-parents-anyway/2012/02/27/gIQAa1vFnR_story.html?hpid=z3 A quote at the end reads: "She points to an analysis of 225 studies on achievement, success and happiness by three psychologists that found that happy people — those who are, as Druckerman writes of the French, comfortable in their own skin — are more likely to have 'fulfilling marriages and relationships, high incomes, superior work performance, community involvement, robust health, and a long life.'" Looking at the bigger context, I read "comfortable in their own skin" and "happy" here as more akin to being content and having a meaningful life, not one purely driven by signs of external achievement - and I'd say that lines up nicely with your argument.

March 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLiz

As a former philosophy grad student I just want to throw this out there. Aristotle's whole approach to ethics (which is broader than what we consider ethics today, it's more about how to live within society) is about seeking happiness. But that's not really true, because it's the Greek word "eudaimonia" which translates better as "flourishing," and it's not a momentary emotion but a long term state that one lives in. This makes a lot more sense. We want to live a life in which we flourish, in which we do the things that we set out to do and make the most of our lives. Discomforts along the way? Of course! But the big picture is a satisfying life. The idea that we always have to be "happy" that you are referring to is, I think, quite oppressive - but that doesn't mean we're not looking for happiness. It's just a different kind.

March 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine

[...] PhDinParenting posted about happiness in parenting yesterday. She asked, “Are we too obsessed with happiness?” Yes. Probably. [...]

I like that, Catherine.

March 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

For me happiness IS living a fully engaged life of following my passions and living according to my values. That fulfillment is what makes me happy.

Avoiding difficulty or taking the easy way is not a source of happiness.

March 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSandra

As I've gotten older, my definition of "happiness" has shifted. Now that I'm coming through the haze of childbearing years....I strive to do things that motivate and push ME (that's right, ME!) forward...even to the outside of what I would have said happiness was years ago. I want to feel motivated, ready to jump, ready to fail. I want a tiny bit of scary in every day. Happiness is adventure small or epic - I'll take either!

March 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLouise

I think I would disagree with the definition of happiness that you seem to be operating from here. Choosing happiness is rarely "simple", although I think that's a classic misconception. Furthermore, I don't believe there is happiness without fulfillment and meaning.

When most people say they are pursuing happiness, I don't think they are talking about fleeting moments of smiling; they are looking for something more sustainable, which can only be attained by following your own values.

March 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMiss Britt

You always ask difficult questions here. One of the many reasons I keep reading. Thank you.

I've been writing and thinking a lot about happiness and "doing epic shit" in the last year. I'm trying to find more happiness in my day to day while still pursuing the epic shit. It's challenging. I've found that being very process, instead of result, driven helps. Rejection letters and failed projects don't bite as much. I'm less concerned with the result or success and more concerned with the action of doing, the enjoyment and happiness from creating. It's even helped me enjoy housework more.

Once upon a time I was a high level athlete. At what would end up being the pinnacle of my success in sport I realized I wasn't happy. I had pinned my happiness on a result. When I got the result I was ecstatic for about 24 hrs. And then I wasn't. It was a huge lesson to me that I had to start enjoying the process more. This meant laughing about training in the snow to getting out and socializing more. I made a conscious decision to be happy. To enjoy the city I was living in, to stop complaining and to smile. While I ended up not making the Olympic team the following year I was actually a happier person. Strange but true.

March 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

I think what we should really be trying to do is increase our subjective well-being, which is often used synonymously with happiness. It can be measured, which is fantastic. This trait is also highly heritable. Here is one article on the topic: http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/16/39/38331839.pdf

When I learned about SWB as a psych major, it completely changed my perception of how to achieve "happiness" and why is may be so much harder for me (as it is heritable, a pattern can be seen with low ratings of SWB within my lineage).

March 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMegyn @MinimalistMommi

Your post was perfectly timed - I've had one brewing in my head for months about the misperception that motherhood is all fun and rainbows and that you should just avoid the unpleasant parts to make life easier. As a parent my values mean I do a lot of things with my kids that I don't enjoy and don't make me happy (like taking them grocery shopping or talking openly and honestly about death) but I do them because of what I want to teach them.

March 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSara

Britt:

I'm not sure that I have a definition. Maybe if I did, the conversation would be easier.

I think there is a difference between being happy in life (which is really hard to define) and choosing the "happier" route at any given crossroads (which may be easier to define).

When I think about what would truly make me happy, it does have a lot of fulfillment and meaning, but I also know that I will likely never experience that state in my lifetime. So I guess I try to move the goal post a bit further towards that point, even if I know that I may never get there and that it may mean less happiness during the moments where it is really hard or heartbreaking. The other alternative would be to forgo those goals and choose the easy route each day, which may bring me more daily happiness, but less fulfillment in life.

I don't know. It is a complex topic, for sure and I am in awe of you for taking it on at a grander level than I am.

March 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

"content and present"...

I like these words. They resonate with me, very much! Thank you for this, and for this post, Annie!

Now, off to be more "present". :)

March 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoy

"When people take time away from their own happiness to do something that really matters..."

Why does happiness need to exist outside of "doing something that really matters"? Isn't what "really matters" as universally undefinable as happiness? what is important to one isn't to another (I'm thinking, only because I recently read it) of a comment on your McDonald's blog about "who cares about chickens' humane treatment? There are far more important things..." I disagreed with that suggestion vehemently, but couldn't state it in a succinct way, so i didn't respond - but it illustrates the vast difference in what "matters" to people; and what makes people happy.

I personally don't think of happiness as a destination, but it is an important component of my life journey, in whatever I'm doing. In parenting, if the way I'm treating my children isn't producing a good feeling, that's a signal to me to re-analyze what I'm doing & why. Happiness is a natural human emotion & state of being (when you're not suffering from depression; goes without saying), and it should be easy.

If you want to be happy, be.

March 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKelly @kellynaturally

This is certainly something to think about! Like most people, I love being happy! but while reading Unconditional Parenting, I was struck by a point that Kohn makes about wanting our children to experience the full range of human emotions- not to just be stuck in state of happiness. How much better to try and fail and try and succeed and try and be terrified and than just stay home and eat cake!

March 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmy G

I don't think that doing something that really matters always means taking time away from your own happiness, but often it can.

As an example, there are many times when I've come across something online or in real life that I think needs to change or people need to be aware of. I can either spend the afternoon going on a relaxing hike in the woods with friends or I can sit at my laptop, dig up the research, create a compelling blog post or video, and spread that important message. If the message is received positively and the world changes for the better, then perhaps that makes me just as happy as going on the hike would. But if I get attacked, lose friends, or if I REALLY had something else I wanted to do that day that would have made me happier than sitting at my computer, then doing something that really matters does involve taking time away from my own happiness.

March 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterphdinparenting

I understand where you're coming from with that example, for sure.

But there's also a difference, I think, in momentary - item by item - "happiness" and just... being happy, satisfied, joy-filled in your existence. Even though you may have a task which isn't "fun", it doesn't have to take away from overall happiness.

I think that's the point of the Twitter happiness quotes, the reminders to be happy... it's not obtaining happiness through individual acheivements (or, temporarily setting aside happiness during drudging tasks), but instead a way of approaching life with satisfaction.

But then... that's a difficult ideal, isn't it; when living a life in the public eye brings with it often personalized attacks.... how to keep separate overall happiness with just getting through the vitriol, making your point heard, taking the high road, and getting on with stuff that... makes you happy?

;)

March 5, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkelly @kellynaturally

I'm a bit of a student of happiness and I believe the Ideas show (I'l have to listen to it) is right that the pursuit of happiness is a futile excercise. Happiness can be ... generated. It's mainly about being content, like a state of mind, which may come out of doing epic things, but just as easily from playing a board game with the family or friends. I often say that the worst thing for happiness is to make comparisons. Unhappy people are forever lamenting what others have or accomplished that they didn't, or what they could've been. Happy people do not, they let regret or shame or mistakes slide off their backs. People who are unhappy find it difficult to just go out and do more things that they think will make them happy because it's really an internal lens that must be changed; which is hard. Unhappy people stay unhappy, even if they become wildly successful (in fact, I might say that some people are driven to extreme lengths and accomplish a lot in their search for happiness that ultimately still fails)

I love this quote: "Happiness is a journey, not a destination". I am a happy person period. I might be sad at the moment, be angry at something, anxious/nervous/cynical/cruel/weak but it has nothing to do with me being happy. We have a rich emotional palette and it's normal to allow yourself express the feelings. It's like a sinusoid: after bathing in a depressed mode there's a period of elation and living through these 'negative' feelings is much better than try to fix it with shopping/eating/drinking etc.

March 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterOlga

"if the way I’m treating my children isn’t producing a good feeling, that’s a signal to me to re-analyze what I’m doing & why"

I remember Harvey Karp wrote in his Happiest Baby on the Block about following our instincts. Natural selection presumes we're the strongest/smartest species and we're here only for our ancestors following their gut feeling. The idea of attachment parenting is the same: it's natural to coddle your baby, to hold/wear/cosleep/breastfeed etc. If a mother is sceptic about something (I do feel a physical discomfort when my baby is crying) it's probably isn't working out

March 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterOlga

Our culture is much too obsessed with happiness; which, ironically, makes happiness more elusive. I'm content with what I have. It doesn't mean that I don't work toward goals and dreams that I believe will better my life and the lives of my children, it simply means that I am where I am -- and that's a good place.

I have a husband and 4 children who adore me, I'm working in my dream occupation of freelance health care journalist, I'm in touch with my Creator on a deep spiritual level. Sure, we struggle with things like bills and other hardships (actually too numerous to list), but those are just pebbles along the beautiful path of life! We're fearfully and wonderfully made and I enjoy every minute of it -- even when I'm struggling with the various challenges that face my family and me.

March 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSamantha Gluck

[...] Me CryMommyNaniBooBoo: Postpartum Psychosis – Shedding Light On The Demon.PhD In Parenting: Are We Too Obsessed With Happiness?Have you come across a great read? Tell us where to find it in the comment section! (Yes, it can be [...]

My own experience with depression led me to a different conclusion than @Issa. I experienced no joy at all, not a speck, for years - years and years, maybe five or six. That's a hard way to live, without joy. And one day, I don't know I was watching Oprah and she was hectoring people about their lack of happiness. A basic, u r doing it wrong scenario. And I thought, this is ridiculous! Why is the goal of life to be happy? I'm not happy! Maybe I'm not a happy person. Is that all there is? So I made a decision for myself that I would no longer try to be happy, that I would in fact do epic sh*t instead, *live* my life, deeply, and that was enough for me. It's very American (North American?), this obsession with happiness, and the underlying myth that good living (in the moral sense) = happiness. I see that others have defined happiness differently in the thread, which of course is fine, but I think maybe what Annie was getting at here is the pervasive cultural understanding of happiness that we are bombarded with through the self-help media industry (Oprah being the queen of it). I especially don't like the concept of "choosing happiness" because it suggests that if you aren't happy, it's your fault; whereas periods of unhappiness wash over us all - not just moments, but periods even epochs - for substantial reasons (loss of job, loss of loved one, traumatic experience, illness, etc).

I see that with parenting too; so much emphasis on making one's kids happy. I'm not trying to make my kids happy (although there's nothing better than seeing their faces lit up with joy), I want to give them tools to have a life filled with meaning and purpose, self-discipline and dignity. As others have said in this thread, happiness is fleeting. We have so little control over whether or not we (or anyone else) is happy. I cherish my moments of joy and happiness, but they aren't what define what my life means to me (how I understand what's important about it).

March 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterErin

So. Wow. You and the previous commenters had to get deep, huh?

For starters, I completely agree that we are talking about different things. Is happiness peace and zen? a state of euphoria? fulfillment? something else?

Definitions aside, I think the dangerous thing is not the desire or pursuit but the pop culture cult of happiness. The message that if you are not happy UR DOIN' IT WRONG!!! You are not...taking responsibility for your happiness or finding your parachute or coloring your rainbow or whatever.

I can identify with the comment that someone who understands the throes of depression would trade so much for a couple of moments without that weight...

...but so much of that weight (not all, of course) isn't absence of happy as it is the alienating feeling that you are supposed to be something else...happy.

It is the lie that we are fed and eat and then devours from within.

March 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCandace

This is a really different perspective. It's one that makes a lot of sense to me. I finished my B.A. in Anthropology in 2010, and the course of my education drew me to explore a lot of different perspectives and (for lack of a better word) situations around the world. My degree program awakened my desire to know what is going on in the world and speak out about them, be it in conversation, online, or even just educating my own children.

A lot of what I learned (either while in school or just because of personal interest) is simply that "The only thing I know is that I don't know much". I say that all the time, and that's because I believe it. I feel like people, in general, are wedded to the "simple" solution or explanation. They don't feel a need (or even a want) to know more about the majority of what happens in the world. In short, it is easier to not know.

I think this Kony 2012 thing really brought this to light. I experienced a lot of backlash when I spoke out against the campaign. My numerous posts written by Africans and/or activists with experience in Uganda were left unread or ignored, and my assertions that the campaign and the charity were not what people thought were ruthlessly torn down.

I have experienced this in the past as well. The first time about breastfeeding, the second time about First Nations' rights in Canada, the third time about babywearing/stroller use (this one started when I said my 14 month old is getting heavy in the carrier!), and most recently Kony 2012. I understand that it is easier to be ignorant (it really does help people to sleep at night!), but I can't be ignorant. Even when it does stress me out, or make me sad, or keep me awake at night--I can't do it. I want to know, because knowing and awareness are a big step toward making a change. And my children will grow up exposed to some of the big issues faced today, because I hope that their generation does better than ours has.

March 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRobbin Abernathy

This is a most usfuel contribution to the debate

September 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCaroline

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