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May 29, 2024

Joy Spotting

Each day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us.
– Henri Nouwen, 1932-1996, Dutch priest, writer

At the 2024 World Forum on Early Care and Education in Vancouver, Canada, Bright Horizons sponsored a “Joy Spotting Station!” 750 participants from over 50 countries were invited to post their photos of “moments of joy” encountered throughout the event. Wouldn’t it be great if this wonderful idea could be taken back to early childhood classrooms throughout the world?

Psychologist and New York Times best-selling author Mary Pipher believes we can all use intentional strategies to bring more joy to our work and personal lives. (We think she’d love the Joy Spotting station!)

In her article, included in the Exchange Reflections on “Cultivating Joy,” Pipher writes:

“It is never too late to become a happy person. We can set our mind to it and work to acquire the necessary skills. They are gratitude, slowing down, being awake to the wonder all around us, being outside and enjoying the primal activities we humans have enjoyed since the beginning of time. These skills can become healthy habits, just like brushing our teeth or exercising.

“Gratitude is not a virtue, but rather a survival skill. I have noticed that many of the most grateful people I know live in difficult circumstances. They learn this skill and use it constantly, in order to have joy in their hard lives. Sometimes privileged people are inclined to take too many things for granted. When small things go wrong, they feel miserable. Gratitude comes not in spite of our problems, but rather because of them.

“I am not a naturally sunny person, but I have learned to start and end my day with gratitude. I begin my day by being grateful for the gift of having 24 precious hours before me. I fall asleep each night by reminding myself of what I am grateful for, what I feel proud of and what I truly enjoyed.”

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