Mike Ferry, author of Teaching Happiness and Innovation, was interviewed on The Changing Behavior Network (posted on July 12, 2015). We caught up with Mike to see if we could learn a bit more him and his work.
Tell us a bit about your background, Mike.
This school year (2015-2016) is my thirteenth year as a middle school history teacher at Collegiate School in Richmond, Virginia. My college sweetheart and I have four kids, three boys and a girl. We drive a very loud minivan! I’m also a musician and songwriter.
A few years ago, I learned about the Science of Happiness at an education conference. It had a powerful effect on my perspectives related to teaching and parenting. The experience led me to write my book, Teaching Happiness and Innovation.
Why did you write this book?
As a teacher and parent, I want to help kids design the best possible future, one that is safer, more prosperous, and more sustainable than our current world. If we teach kids the habits of happiness and innovation, we’ll help them get there.
Research has shown that happy people tend to be successful in all walks of life. We can help our kids learn and practice the habits of happiness. As a result, they will be more successful in school, at work, and in other domains. Also, our country and planet need big ideas. After learning the skills of innovation, our kids will create the new businesses, works of art, technologies, and public policy solutions that will increase employment and improve our quality of life.
What habits of happiness should we be teaching our kids?
Well, it’s important to realize that our brains become most adept at doing whatever tasks we perform most often. In other words, practice makes perfect. If we want our kids to become happier, then we should help them identify and repeat behaviors that are associated with happiness.
These three habits comprise a good starting point: gratitude, kindness, and creativity. In our homes and classrooms, we will make great strides toward a happier future if we encourage children to practice these behaviors as often as possible.
How can we learn more ideas related to teaching happiness and innovation?
I have many helpful articles and insights on my blog and on the Teaching Happiness and Innovation Podcast. You can find these on my website, www.happinessandinnovation.com. Also, if you sign up for my monthly email list, you can download a free chapter from my book.
If you go to the “Mike’s Tunes” page on my website, you’ll find many of my original musical compositions. You can download my songs for free. In exchange, all I ask is that you perform an act of kindness for someone. ###