"thinking about sharks"

maybe painting about the word HAPPY makes this child happy.
a child
[pause...tilt your head, squint one eye, twist your mouth...ponder.]

Now, let me pose the question in a different way:
Ask a child to explain to you what makes them happy.
And Then, tell me the answer.

LIKELY ~ what YOU think makes a child happy
might be quite different than what THEY say.
LIKELY ~ your child might answer right in the moment, right then,
and tell in their own colorful way what makes them happy.
[quite likely.]

So, certainly, what YOU think makes them happy might well be true, no doubt.
sure looks like happiness to me!
YOU KNOW your child loves soccer or ice cream or all-things-glitter...
Yet, isn't part of the joy of happiness how each person can have their own sense of it? Their very own version of how life feels to them, tastes, quiet, loud, big, bright, funny, purple?
Young children know very very early on what makes them happy.
They really do know.

My former colleague, Megan, a dear friend and mother extraordinaire to 3 year old Tavo, was my inspiration for this post. She had shared on a social network about Tavo and his musings to her about what makes HIM happy. Here is the short - yet so very sweet and insightful - exchange:
Mom Megan: "Tavo, what makes you happy?"
3 year old Tavo: "Thinking, drinking hot cinnamon, and relaxing."
I imagine Tavo sitting next to Megan or maybe looking right up to her, offering this answer in a way that surprises her in a charming way and yet probably doesn't surprise her as these 3 things are likely very dear to him in his life. Likely, the relaxing or the thinking are part of his personality already. Likely, the hot cinnamon is something Megan and Tavo share occasionally (I don't know what that is, but it sure sounds good on this rainy California night!).
I imagine how wonderful that a 3 year old has a sense of "relaxing" and that it is something that he seeks out to do.
I imagine how powerful that a 3 year old has a sense of  "thinking" and that he is the boss of his own thoughts.
Makes me happy just thinking about Tavo's response.

I asked my Zella friends on FB about what makes their child happy.
Some shares included the parents' ideas about what they know their children enjoy: play time, cheese, Dora, basketball!
Hmmm, maybe the boy would also be happy swimming with alligators?
Another reader who is an early childhood teacher shared a child's answer from a class discussion [which became the short title for this post]: "The boy said he felt happy when he was swimming in a cool pool thinking about sharks."
wow. who could have known this? only the boy.

ask your child. 
and then, please share their response - you'll be happy you did :)