Finding Happiness

By Charlotte Allan, age 14 and Marjorie Foerster Eddington


How can we be happy when there are so many problems in high school?


For the two years I've been a teenager, I have constantly associated myself with my peers. From my experiences, I've observed a major cause of most of our problems. There are the obvious influences and seductions, but those aren't the causes. It seems that having the title "bad boy," "bad girl," or "good-looking" is commonly desired by the majority of adolescents. But why? To have the feeling of being accepted? To be cool? To feel loved and cared for? I have gained and lost, loved and disliked numerous friends and acquaintances throughout my life, and I have determined that everyone feels the need to be happy -- to feel a sense of joy, comfort, love, and satisfaction.

But rather than just accepting all the good going on in life and then allowing ourselves to be happy, we teenagers are continuously searching for ways to get out of our problems, and do things we'll regret later -- like talking about someone behind his or her back, taking drugs, or agreeing to have sexual interaction. Yielding to these temptations creates self-absorption and can cause depression. Some people take these feelings to extremes and do hurtful things to their bodies or even try to commit suicide. Though there are many various excuses, the reasons behind the problems seem to be that people are insecure about themselves, forlorn, and totally unhappy. They don't have a good vision of themselves.

The Bible teaches, "Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he" (Prov. 30:18). If we teens would begin to acknowledge that there is a larger vision to this world than who has the cutest outfits in class, or who has the most attractive boyfriend, then we would be able to focus on more important things and let the insignificant things go. Then, we can keep God's law, which makes us happy.

One of the most significant ways to become happy is to be unselfish and to give to others. After Jesus washes his disciples feet and talks about serving each other, Jesus says, "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them" (John 13:17). We need to do what Jesus tells us. We need to serve others. We should speak with the people we don't like and learn about them, face the people that take advantage of us, and stand up to the immature groups that try to push us to do stupid or radical things. The Bible says, "Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding" (Prov. 3:13). If more teenagers used this statement as a basis for how they could become happy, they would be joyful. Happiness and joy are not found in submitting to peer pressure or problems. Happiness is found in finding "wisdom" and "understanding," in seeing ourselves correctly, as God made us.

We can be grateful for what we already have and demonstrate the knowledge God has given to us, which will lead to more pleasant things. But sometimes the hard part is staying happy. If we're strong and independent, people will respect us, even if it may not seem that way at first. If anything, the people who try to get us to do things that will make us unhappy are really unhappy themselves. My best advice for being happy is to express the gifts God has given everyone. He gave us more than we will ever know, so we can trust that He will lead us all in the right direction.

Charlotte Allan, age 14

As Charlotte mentioned, the Bible reminds us that "he that keepeth the law, happy is he" (Prov. 30:18). So, what is this law that we are to keep? The law is in the ten commandments, which Jesus summarized perfectly:

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (Matt. 22:37-39)

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. (John 13:34)

Loving God and loving others is truly the way to keep the law and to find lasting happiness. If we want to learn more about happiness, we can turn to the Beatitudes, which start out with "Blessed," which means "Happy.