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What Is Happiness?

Letís make others happy!

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To identify that true happiness does not depend upon material goods, but on sharing life and community with others.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need the PowerPoint slides that accompany this assembly (What Is Happiness?) and the means to display them.


  1. Show Slide 1.

    Explain to the children that we are going to think about the question, ‘What is happiness?’

    Ask the children what pops into their heads when they think about happiness.

    Listen to a range of responses.

  2. Show Slide 2.

    Ask the children which words they would use to describe happiness.

    Listen to a range of responses.

  3. Identify that happiness is a feeling, a sense of well-being, joy or contentment.

    Ask the children, ‘What makes you happy?’

    Listen to a range of responses.

  4. Show Slide 3.

    ‘Happiness is a feeling that comes over you when you know life is good and you can’t help but smile. It’s the opposite of sadness.’

    Ask the children to think about this definition of happiness.

    Listen to a range of responses.

  5. Show Slide 4.

    ‘When people are successful or safe or lucky, they feel happiness.’

    Ask the children whether they agree or disagree with this statement.

    Listen to a range of responses.

  6. Show Slide 5.

    Ask the children, ‘Do these children look happy or sad?’

    Point out that these photographs were taken in different parts of the world. All of the children look happy, but it is impossible to understand much about them by looking at their smiling faces. Some of them might have difficult things happening in their lives. Some of them might be rich; some of them might be poor. However, all of them have a smile on their faces.

  7. Explain that another similarity between the pictures is that all of the children are pictured in groups. They all seem to be with their friends.

  8. Tell the children that some people in the room might be feeling like they don’t have any good friends at the moment or might have fallen out with their friends. Encourage them to speak to someone to help sort it out or to help them to find friends.

    Explain that if someone is feeling this way, they are not really alone. In this room, there will be many people who have felt that they don’t have any friends, so there are many people who understand how they are feeling.

  9. Tell the following story.

    There was a man who had spent some time in a village, studying the habits and culture of a remote Brazilian tribe. The day before he was to return home, he decided to play a game with the children. He filled a basket with delicious fruits from around the region, such as bananas, guavas, mangos and pineapples, tied a ribbon round the basket and hung it from a tree.

    Next, he called all of the children in the village to him. He drew a line in the dirt, looked at the children and said, ‘When I tell you to start, run to the tree. Whoever gets there first will win the basket of fruit. Ready, steady, go!’

    When the man told them to run, all of the children took each other’s hands and ran together to the tree. Then, they sat together around the basket and enjoyed their treat as a group. The man was surprised and wondered aloud why they would all go together when one of them could have won all the fruits for him or herself. In response, one of the children looked up at him and said, ‘How can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?’

  10. Ask the children what lessons we can learn from this story.

    Listen to a range of responses.

Time for reflection

In the Bible, there is a story about a boy who had a basket of food. Instead of keeping it to himself, he shared it with Jesus, who used his food to do something amazing! Read or tell the story of the feeding of the 5,000 from John 6.1-14.

Ask the children to imagine being the boy in the story and consider the following questions.

- How would you feel when Jesus used your food in such a special way?
- Would you race home to tell someone about it?
- Would you ever forget how sharing your small picnic fed thousands of people and put a smile on every face?

Now ask the children to think about times when they have felt really happy because they have shared something or have enjoyed someone’s friendship.

Show Slide 6.

‘The only way to have a friend is to be one.’

Explain to the children that if we want to have a good friend who makes us happy, we need to be a good friend in return.

Encourage the children to look out for ways in which they can make those around them happy today.

Dear God,
Thank you that you want us to be happy.
Please help us to look for ways to make other people happy.
Please help us to share and to be kind.


‘Loaves and fishes’ by Jacqueline Hegarty, available at: (2.50 minutes long)

Publication date: February 2020   (Vol.22 No.2)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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