“Two Secrets to Happiness,” Friend, Feb. 2009, 8–9
When I was younger, I never liked fish much. Then I moved to Boston, Massachusetts. People said, “You’ll love the fish in Boston. You have to try Boston scrod.” It doesn’t sound good, does it? Scrod is a young cod. I tried it—and I loved it. It’s the best thing I’ve ever eaten!
It’s the same way with work. I think one of the most important things to learn is how to work hard. Ask your parents for a hard chore you can do. If you try it, I promise you’ll like it.
My mother taught me to work hard. She asked me to get the work done first and then go play. One day a few of us helped my mom move a piano from upstairs to downstairs. It was a big, old piano. It wasn’t easy to move. We moved it around corners and finally down the stairs. When we set it down, my mother was glowing with happiness—just because we’d moved a piano! I said, “Mom, I think you would rather move a piano than listen to a piano.” She nodded. She loved to work.
Learn to enjoy work. When you get an assignment, do your very best. Ask your parents, “What can I do to help?” If you try it, you’ll like it. A man once told me, “You never work for anyone else.” He meant that we are the ones who benefit from working because it gives us a good feeling. You will be happier as you learn to work.
Another way to be happy is to learn self-control. When I was younger, I loved to play basketball. But I did not have good sportsmanship. Winning was everything to me. Whenever someone fouled me, I would get angry.
Then I learned that basketball is only a game. I decided to change. One day, someone elbowed me in the chest on purpose. He pushed me hard. In the past, I would have gotten angry, but this time I walked away without saying anything. I had the best feeling. I knew that I had learned to control myself. It felt better than winning!
Work hard, be a good sport, and learn self-control. As you do, you will be happier.