As a child, I was very close with my grandfather. He grew up in Milwaukee, and was the first in his family to go to college.
After two and a half years in college, he entered medical school. He fought in World War II, came home and lived the American dream.
One day, when my parents were out of town and I was staying with him, and we got into talking about his life and career.
He started pulling outletters—boxes and boxes of letters. Now he lived in a small apartment, but he had saved all these boxes.
The letters were from patients thanking him for his kindnesses to them–thanking him for coming to their house in the middle of the night; thanking him for taking out their child's appendix; thanking him for the baby girl he delivered.
He teared up. These memories brought him so much happiness.
And these letters became an enduring lesson for me on what makes for a happy life.
If you are a parent or grandparent today, your children or grandchildren are asking you—directly or indirectly—what makes for a happy life. What brings the greatest meaning and purpose? What are you telling them?
Like my grandfather, we can start with kindness. We can start with the act that make a difference—that improves—another person's life. We are all capable of doing it, and it works.
Kindness is just one of the ten practices that both my faith and the science of positive psychology have shown make us happier and more fulfilled in life.
You can learn more about these practices—and bring them into the lives of others—if you join the launch team for The Happiness Prayer, my book releasing September 12th. If you haven't already, here's the link to join.