Make sad people happy

And other words of wisdom from Grade 6


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I spent a couple of hours Tuesday scouring my house from top to bottom searching for the perfect book to read to the kids in Bonnie Slobodian's Grade 6 class at St. Alphonsus School in East Kildonan.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 25/02/2015 (2839 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

I spent a couple of hours Tuesday scouring my house from top to bottom searching for the perfect book to read to the kids in Bonnie Slobodian’s Grade 6 class at St. Alphonsus School in East Kildonan.

That is how I stumbled on an old dog-eared copy of Life’s Little Instruction Book, which inspirational author H. Jackson Brown Jr. wrote in 1991 as a gift for his son, Adam, who was heading off for his first year at college.

This famous little book contains 511 suggestions — “1. Compliment three people every day… 511. Call your mother” — on how to live a happy and rewarding life.

Submitted photo The wise-beyond-their-years Grade 6 students at St. Alphonsus School shared their secrets for being truly happy.

Which is when I got the genius idea to read some of Brown’s advice to the Grade 6 kids as part of I Love to Read Month in exchange for them writing their own instruction book on how to find true happiness.

Prepare to be filled with joy, because the kids dug even deeper than I expected. Here’s their unedited but heart-felt guide for turning that (bad word) frown upside down:

  • Rule No. 1 — (Twenty tips, including… ) 1. Be brave; 3. Don’t complain about everything (mostly on car rides); 7. Always walk with a nun when walking across a street; 10. Don’t try to do a joke if you have no sense of humor; 13. Film your pet walking in pet boots.” — Zenya, 12.
  • Rule No. 2 — “When a child is born, he/she should be issued a dog and a banjo.” — Samuel, 11.
  • Rule No. 3 — “Go to a movie and keep the 3D glasses and pop the lenses out. Watch Doctor Who.” — Carter, 11.
  • Rule No. 4 — “(Eight tips, including… ) 2. Don’t eat soup. Ever; 3. No matter how brutal the food is, compliment it; 4. If your dizzy, have a bath, not a shower; 8. Smile at angry people.” — Paul, 11.
  • Rule No. 5 — “(About 30 tips, including… ) Go snowmobiling; Shut blender cap before you turn on; Print neat; Be specific when telling someone to do something; Don’t look at your electronics too much.” — Evan, 11.
  • Rule No. 6 — “Orginaze your house; After you spit out your toothpaste wash the sink; Take selfies like there is no tomorrow; Doodle and tell the story of your life.” — Jenna, 11.
  • Rule No. 7 — “You should do something that you thought you couldn’t do; Drink Tim’s coffee; You shouldn’t wear sweats to school; You shouldn’t ask if they are pregnant.” — Ben, 11.
  • Rule No. 8 — (50 tips, including … ) 1. Every time leave a tip at a restaurant; 3. Always use soap; 4. Rember the news channel will depress you; 5. Don’t leave your Lego on the side of the bed; 11. Read the Free Press; 26. Use deodarent; 27. Don’t hate on people; 41. Don’t drive in heavy rain; 47. Don’t intrupt.” — Matt, 11.
  • Rule No. 9 — “(13 tips, including… ) 1. Brush your hair at least once a day; 5. Always dream of Paris; 11. Have yogurt when your sick; 12. Cantalop is not good to eat.” — Arianna, 11.
  • Rule No. 10 — (30 tips, including… ) 1. If your happy and someone you know is sad, make them happy; 2. Don’t always expect an award for doing something big; 8. Find someone you love and hold on to them forever; 9. Don’t do some thing to get you in jail; 15. Don’t do dangerous things to impress a girl; 27. Wait and get to know the girl you like for almost a year before you pop the big question; 29. Always remember that your dog is your best friend.” — Josh, 12.
  • Rule No. 11 — “(About 100 tips, including… ) Don’t mess with policemen; Don’t leave a ring in the bathroom. Just don’t; Be able to cook a proper meal. NO FAST FOOD!; Eat mini donuts; Don’t yell in libraries; Learn to control your feelings in public; Have a positive attitude; Own a budgie; If your mad, don’t through your mom’s vase that has been in her family for generations.” — Themi, 11.
  • Rule No. 12 — “Bite your tongue and be respectful.” — Sena, 12.
  • Rule No. 13 — “(13 tips, including… ) 7. Don’t be a jerk; 8. Have kids; 9. Get a wife; 10. Name your cat Bob; 12. Name your kid Bob. 13. Don’t blame the dog.” — Arenna, 11.
  • Rule No. 14 — “Be nice to people unless your siblings being annoying, then just annoy them.” — Sydney, 11.
  • Rule No. 15 — “Eat 20 pieces of bacon a day.” — Zac, 11.
  • Rule No. 16 — “(12 tips, including… ) 1. Play with bobble heads; 10. Make art and just leave it on the street; 11. Make jokes that only old people understand.” — Tia, 11.
  • Rule No. 17 — “Do never pee in the pool … Dress as a superhero on a occasional day.” — Bobannlder, 12.

— Rule No. 18 — “Life’s Construction Book: Listen to your parents … Life’s short. Enjoy it.” — Ella, 11, Grade 6

I don’t think there’s anything I could add to this list, but if there was, it would be Rule No. 20 — Always keep a box of tissues handy, because sometimes the stuff kids come up with makes your eyeballs get all squishy.

Doug Speirs

Doug Speirs

Doug has held almost every job at the newspaper — reporter, city editor, night editor, tour guide, hand model — and his colleagues are confident he’ll eventually find something he is good at.

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