"Throughout our lives, friends enclose us, like pairs of parentheses," writes National Book Award nominee Beth Kephart. "They shift our boundaries, crater our terrain. They fume through the cracks of our tentative houses, and parts of them always remain…Friendship asks and wants, hollows and fills, ages with us and we through it, cradles us, finally, like family. It is ecology and mystery and language, all three."
I have been blogging about the importance of strong social connections for happiness for a month now, maybe more, and all the science in the world probably doesn't illustrate just how darn meaningful friends are for a life well lived as this little video by Kelly Corrigan does. It is moving, I think, because it is true: the support — emotional, practical — we get from our friends buffers us from stress and anxiety and depression (science bears this out, of course). Our friends help us turn difficult and painful moments into meaningful ones flooded with love and compassion. They help us celebrate the good times, drawing out the pleasure that comes with life's joys.
What does this have to do with raising happy kids? EVERYTHING. Our grown-up friendships, especially the really meaninful ones, model for our children what we want them to have throughout their lives.
I hope you enjoy this video — the last minute still makes me weep and I've seen it 50 times. Forward it to all of the amazing women in your life, those who make it possible for you to transcend the mundane or the painful so that you might lead a life worth living.
I’m Christine Carter, Ph.D, a sociologist and happiness expert at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center. This blog is mostly science-based parenting advice: since I’m reading all the research related to raising happy children anyway, I thought we might as well make it useable to parents. My intention is to bring a scientific framing (what does the research actually say?) to our opinion-based parenting debates and advice. Sorting fact from fiction can be confusing when it comes to parenting.
This blog is also about me and my children. It represents the intersection of my brain and my heart: my intellectual training in the social sciences and my very real, sometimes raw, experiences as a mother.