New Game + How to be truly, really happy

I wrote this last year, but it was so popular I’m writing it for you again this year. Enjoy – Richard

We all want our kids to be happy.

Truly, really happy.

Some of us try things like fun and games in class.

And that helps.

For a little while.

And Iโ€™d always trade โ€œbored in classโ€ for a smile.

Some try to give presents and unconditional attention.

That rarely works.

And just makes them crave it more.

But โ€ฆ there is one, true way to be happy.

And it is easy to do.

We could all do it tomorrow.

The happiest people are doing it today.

Itโ€™s simple.

โ€œI want that carโ€

โ€œWhy does she earn more than me?โ€

โ€œWhy donโ€™t I have that?โ€

These are the reasons you get unhappy.

So just flip it around.

Just look at what you *do* have.

Then be super, utterly, truthfully grateful for it.

Donโ€™t believe me?

Just try it now.

Pick something you are grateful for.

Something small.

It might be the computer or phone you have.

The friends you have here.

The one kid in class who always makes everyone laugh.

That feeling you have is happiness.

And we need to bring it to schools.

I didnโ€™t write theย โ€œThanksgivingโ€ lesson for Thanksgiving.

I wrote it because I want the kids to have at least one chance today to think and sayโ€ฆ

โ€œIโ€™m thankful for โ€ฆ.โ€ plus something.

Even something small.

This could be the biggest lesson you ever give your students.

And if they remember it, it will make them happier than anything in the world.

Truly, really happy.

So we can all do it Iโ€™ve made the song free on Youtube.

The game is simple.

1. Draw a picture of something you are thankful for.

2. Present it to the class.

Iโ€™m always thankful for each one of you.

I hope soon your children will be too,ย becauseย you ย showed them at least one light of happiness in whatever problems they have today.

Thank you.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Be genki,


Richard Graham

Hello, I'm Richard Graham. And when I was a kid I found school to be sooooo boring... So I transformed my way of teaching. I listened to what the kids were really wanting to say and taught it in ways they really wanted to learn. The results were magical. So I'm sharing it all with you now...

8 Responses to “New Game + How to be truly, really happy”

  1. finnjo

    Richard Thank YOU!! excellent material as always. Can’t wait to use this next week. I am SO thankful that I came across your website when I was doing my ESL training. In my second year of classes now and loving it.

  2. Deena

    I am truly thankful the day I ‘stumbled’ upon your website and as a result, bought the GE program. Your values, authenticity, and creative and giving soul are are what have made your program such a success and help us not only teach our children the English language but the above-mentioned values as well.

  3. Julia

    Dear Richard!

    Thank you very much for your inspirational appeal. Just before I’ve read it I had a lesson with the structure “I’ve got…” And I discussed the topic “A good life” with my 9 year old kids. It went out we’ve got so many things that make our life good! And in the next lesson we’ll celebrate the Thanksgiving Day using your ideas.

    I’d like to say a THANK YOU for all your inspiration and energy you transmit to us teachers. Communication with you makes me happy and willing to dare and do as much as I can.

    Wishing you the best of luck.

    P.S. The site works well. Thank you again. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Cincyesl

    Thank you for your generous spirit and extending yourself to us teachers. It makes us better at what we do which is a common and universal goal for us both.

  5. Stephen

    Here’s one for you guys. The mayonnaise jar and the 2 Beers story. I love this analogy!!!

    A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him.

    When the class began, he wordlessly picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls .

    He then asked the students if the jar was full.

    They agreed that it was.

    The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly.

    The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.

    He then asked the students again if the jar was full.

    They agreed it was.

    The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar.

    Of course, the sand filled up everything else.

    He asked once more if the jar was full..

    The students responded with a unanimous ‘yes.’

    The professor then produced two Beers from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar effectively filling the empty space between the sand.

    The students laughed..

    ‘Now,’ said the professor as the laughter subsided, ‘I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life.

    The golf balls are the important things—your family, your children, your health, your friends and your favorite passions—and if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

    The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house and your car..

    The sand is everything else—the small stuff.

    ‘If you put the sand into the jar first,’ he continued, ‘there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.

    The same goes for life.

    If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

    Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

    Spend time with your children.

    Spend time with your parents.

    Visit with grandparents.

    Take your spouse out to dinner.

    Play another 18.

    There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal.

    Take care of the golf balls first—the things that really matter.

    Set your priorities.

    The rest is just sand.

    One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the Beer represented.

    The professor smiled and said, ‘I’m glad you asked.’

    The Beer just shows you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of Beers with a friend.

  6. Julia

    That’s a nice parable Stephen!
    And a good lesson for everybody.

    Thank you very much.

  7. Stella

    Dearest Guru!
    The experiencec I had got during your master class last year in Yaroslsvl and your so much appreciated posts keep on inspiring me for invention of different options of the games I had learned thanks to you.
    Do you mind my sharing them with you?

    My students absolutely adore the game “Mr. Wolf”.
    They are ready to play it non stop.
    So I am doing my best to bring smth. new evey day we play it.
    For ezample when we practice the forms of the verb “to be” I explain to them that the wolf has a cold and it is hard to hear what he says.
    So we keep on asking questions pretending that we are another able to figure out what he is saying. What? What? And then the smartest of the children explains to the rest. “He says he is is tired( (happy, sad etc.)
    There are a lot of other interesting games I have invented based on the game but I will write about them later. It’s almost 3 am in Russia and I
    need to go to bed.

  8. marcela talledo

    Hello and happy New Year dear Richard I continue to teach english for children even in the Bacheller too. I always wash your news. For me uff help a lot. I am in Venezuela.,

    Marcela Talledo

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