Winner of the Samantha Levitzki Writing Competition, 8th grade student Kaitlynn Skarada, attended the March 14, 2019 Agenda Review Meeting, along with her family, and read her winning essay to the Board.
Can You Buy Happiness? by Kaitlynn Skarada
A wise woman once said, "Money can't buy happiness, but it can make you awfully comfortable while you're being miserable." ~ Clare Boothe Luce
This leads me to the topic of this essay, that being, if you could truly buy happiness. In a short response, I would say no. Why buy an emotion that isn't real? Unfortunately, other people need more convincing. Let me ask you this, when you think of happiness, what comes to mind? Is it family? Maybe it's a pet? Could it even be.....money? It's okay if you think this way, but I do want to try and show you another way of thinking. In order to show you that happiness cannot be bought, I'm going to go over three topics as to why I believe this to be true. Those topics are bribery, human rights/nature, and The Free Hug method.
Today, people think that emotions are meaningless objects that can be replaced with money, but today I'm going to prove that to be false. If you were to ask me the question, "can money make you happy" I would say, "yes". I know it may sound confusing but think about it. You cannot physically buy happiness, but you can buy things to make you happy. This leads me to my first topic, bribery. Bribery is a person's way of personally saying, "I'll give you shiny things and attention if you stay with me." This is the lowest form of desperation if I've ever seen it, and in this case, I have. For example, it may be a friend bringing in food so others will sit by them at lunch. Obviously, there are more serious cases, but like I said, it was only an example. Bribery is a way for you to feel a different kind of happiness, the kind that will end once all the shiny things are gone, it could make you happy, but for how long?
My second reason as to why buying happiness isn't right is human emotion in general. By "buying" happiness,, you are robbing yourself and others of true emotion. One of my friends once said, "why buy a cheap love, when you can earn an even greater one?" This also applies to being happy. Happiness should be shared with the people you love. As I have said before in this essay, you can buy things to make you happy, but you could share those things with people you love and transform that happiness into memories and lifelong friendships. If you still think that happines can be bought, you're completely disregarding human nature. Happiness is not something we could just make out of thin air and it's not something we could just walk into a store and buy. Happiness is compassion and joy that we share with others.
For my third and final topic, I want to talk about hugs, but more specifically, free ones. The expression "free hugs" ties in well with happiness. It is quite strange to think of people hugging strangers, but people go out into the world and give out free hugs. You may be asking, "what does this have to do with being happy?" Well, when I think of happiness, I usually associate it with laughing, smiling, and most importantly hugging. The Free Hug method is a way for us to see how we can overlook simple gestures, thus making us miss out on being happy. It really could just start out as a hug, but maybe that hug could cause you to smile. When you smile, even if you don't mean to, your brain releases a hormone called Dopamine. Dopamine is a hormone that makes you happy. Hugs could possibly cause a chain reaction where the outcome would make you happy, and I don't ever recall seeing a jar of Dopamine on sale at a store. So, if you wanted to get technical, you still could not buy happiness.
I hope this helps you to realize that happiness cannot be bought because of three simple reasons. One of them being bribery, where you give things for emotion, another of them being human emotion, where you rob yourself of true happiness, and finally, the last being the Free Hug method and a hormone called Dopamine. Whether it's snuggling up with a pet, or watching your favorite TV show with your family, I think we could all say happiness is created for people who are willing to try.