Seriously, I was just informed that third annual report from the Gallop organization is in distribution. I have to wonder if anyone else will notice. For shame! We ALL ought to be interested in the happiness of others, shouldn't we? I know this, I finally have become a sincerely "happy" person in recent weeks and it is a joy to see the response from others. But enough about me!
You might be surprised to learn that the top 10 countries for positive emotions are in Latin America. You might be surprised, but I was not. I have visited in Paraquay (the country with the highest positive experiences). Peru (briefly) and Panama when the troopship carrying us to Japan eventually, had to dock to an examination of the "screws" that propel the ship, and in the years when I visited Mexico, often, I thought they might have been included. Probably, the ongoing drug wars have tampered the positive expressions of their people with whom I had conversations. I came away from each visit with memories of people who seemed to thoroughly enjoy our visits, but the less positive me (in those days) harbored the impression, it was an act, their real interest was in our "dollars".
Those nations with less positive emotions ratings came as no surprise, at least to me, were Sudan, Tunisia, Bangladesh and this one surprised me, Turkey. Before I left the USAF to enter college, I was briefed on the peoples and politics of Turkey as I was under consideration for a posting there with our missile bases. I was impressed with the reports on their people and politics and held that feeling for years. More recently, I have often wondered why Turkey has been able to stay out of the conflicts that seem to rage all around them. An interesting aspect of this survey is that it does not include GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) nations such as United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait. No explanation. Perhaps, they were not given permission to conduct surveys.
The report on these surveys included this quote from Robert Kennedy. "...the gross national product (GNP) does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, nor the joy of their play... it measures neither our will nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile." Can you imagine what he might be saying these days? Unfortunately, he is gone and we never had a opportunity to witness the impact his Presidency might have made on our nation.
This I do observe, however, based on the news reports we learn about almost every day. The health of our children appears to have become an obsession with many of their caretakers, their education continues to be a ongoing debate with most politicians and when was the last time you heard the word, joy, mentioned in discussions concerning children? It appears that the word, courage, is no longer a matter of interest to our media, having been replaced by continuing reports on the murders of "blacks" by white policemen and the riots that follow too often. Courage is an expression reserved, appropriately, for our service men and women, fighting in faraway places, the location of which is unknown, except in the constant thoughts of their folks and frieds back home.
Had the survey been conducted here in Putnam county, Tennessee, we might well have competed for a place in the Gallop reports with nations such as Sudan, Tunisia ad Bangladesh.
Fortunately for me and those with whom I associate more often than not, we embrace the thought of joy and happiness, not as something to be lauded, but as an opportunity to serve others and bring joy into their lives. I had spent my 85+ years searching for such a feeling only to discover that it comes from within and is only becomes apparent as we share it in the marketplace of life.