In May 2022, my son, Ian, had the opportunity to spend a week in Denmark investigating what makes the country one of the happiest on earth. In that pursuit, he spent most of his time sitting in cafes and restaurants, attempting to stir up conversation with locals. One morning, at a random café, he fell into discussion with Søren, a single father of two boys, regarding the ways in which he is educating his children.
Søren explained that, despite establishing his foundation in the classroom, the most educational experiences of his life occurred when he was exposed to new things, visiting unfamiliar places, and establishing connections with others with whom he crossed paths. He went on to specify that while he has placed importance on academic studies, he has provided his boys unique experiences that have allowed them to grow beyond the classroom.
On reflection, Ian realized that his own education and character development has been the result of the same values Søren talked about. In his first 19 years, Ian is fortunate to have traveled to 22 countries. His global footprint has shaped how he sees the world writ large and has helped to define what he values most and hopes to achieve.
Additionally, Ian’s travels have shown him that humanity is connected and that our world is bigger than the community we surround ourselves with each day. As such, it is important to further expose oneself to a diversity of people, thought and activity.
Here are some basic tenets Ian lives by – he recommends them for you, too:
- Be a citizen of the world.
- Be curious about local cultures, customs and practices everywhere you go.
- Seek a global mindset.
- Try new foods. Listen to new music. See new sights.
- Connect with others in a meaningful way.
With appreciation to Ian for sharing lessons about hygge (i.e., a sense of comfort, togetherness, and well-being; pronounced “hoo-ga”) and inspiring these past 30 days of blogs in honor of National Novel Writing Month, I hope that you emerge from November happier and with at least one action that will help you to create a hygge network for yourself. Thanks for sticking with me. It’s been wonderful to provide the CLC community with a few ideas for living a happier, fuller, more connected lifestyles.