Country Mouse on happiness

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at the suggestion by former senior Ofsted inspector Sir Jim Rose on Monday that children should be taught how to be happy at primary school. Has it really come to this: compulsory lessons in how to live a happy life?

Deep inside, I feel it probably has. Somewhere over the past couple of generations, we’ve lost a set of values that were once completely natural. Many children are conceived to fit around their parents’ careers and, once born, continue to be fitted around their parents’ jobs, shuffled from school to nanny and back.

Others, such as in the tragic case of Shannon Matthews, have been used to extract more money from the state. What are we doing? Perhaps it’s just as well that children are to be taught about happiness. We should also teach them about risk.

The health-and-safety police want to eradicate all risk from our lives. This is nonsense. Children need to learn from their mistakes or future generations will end up dependent on the state for every action they make. Taking sensible risks can be fun, and, goodness knows, our children need a little fun in the credit-crunch world we’ve presented them with.