Education, Happiness, and Problem Solving

Should education teach people to deal with problems or to try to be happy?

My basic premise is that happiness is what human life means at its deepest level. God made us to be happy. Everything we try is geared towards finding what we call happiness and being in harmony with nature. Of course, it is impossible to become happy without learning to face problems and solve them. Happiness, as Jesus shows us in the Gospels, is not something abstract and smooth, but is found through a process full of tension and conflict. You cannot be happy if you cannot acknowledge conflict and live with the tension that it creates. If you associate happiness with the absence of problems, you will never be happy. You won’t be happy either if your focus is only on problem solving.

A good education includes learning to deal with tension and conflict as part of life and seeing both as opportunities for growth. In addition, it leads us to understand that personal happiness is closely related to the happiness of the wider community. We cannot be happy in isolation. This is the framework in which Jesuit schools and colleges educate. Therefore, they also educate students to develop a sense of solidarity and responsible local and global citizenship, so that they learn to participate actively in the life of their country and the world, to become sensitive to injustice and to implement the necessary changes to use a better, fairer future.

—Excerpt from Walking with Ignatius by Arturo Sosa, SJ

Previous articleA gentle saint: St. Peter Faber

Leave a Comment