When we were in the middle of the YarnHeart project, and doing heart making workshops, one of the things that turned out to be challenging was explaining the concept of gratitude to children. We talked a lot about what gratitude meant and how it made you feel. Of course, one of the things we talked about was how gratitude gave you a feeling of happiness. Many of the kids would then tell us the things that made them happy and that they were grateful for them.
Draw Happy is a global art project exploring happiness by inviting people to draw what makes them happy. The project founder Catherine Young, talks about how difficult it was getting people to draw what makes them happy.
Interestingly, results were not as straightforward as I thought they would be. In my initial round of asking 100 people in Iceland, some people who rejected me did so because they refused to draw even the most basic of shapes and stick figures. A smaller population were surprised that someone even bothered to ask them this question, because no one else previously had and neither had they asked this themselves. I decided to go forward with this project and ask everyone – friends, colleagues, teachers, and strangers back in New York (and the world) – to DrawHappy.
Our chats with the kids were extremely rewarding, especially when they finally ‘got it’ and started listing off things they were grateful for in their lives. The realisation of gratitude also seemed to have an empowering effect on the kids – knowing that there were good things in their lives that they could be grateful for.
When I read about Drawing Happy, I felt there were definite similarities to what we experienced. Sometimes taking that moment to think about what makes you happy or what you’re grateful for makes all the difference,
Might have to get those crayons out after all as Louise recently suggested in our Grateful31 challenge with this post about drawing and colouring.