Doing things just "to make happy"...what does that mean?
I saw a retired friend yesterday who had the opportunity to spend two months in Bali, an island in Indonesia, this past winter. She showed me pictures of these large, parade sized, scary looking figures. The figures were works of art in spite of their rather ugly, scary appearances. The figures were made by locals, who spend an entire year, every year, making these for a festival that is held as part of a religious tradition. At the end of the festival the figures are burned. A full year's worth of artistic, painstaking work, just burned.
My friend asked one of the young men who had helped make a figure, "Is there a prize for the 'best' figure?" The man did not understand what a prize was. Then she asked, "Well, why do you do so much work and then in the end the figure is just burned?" He said, "to make happy", his best attempt to explain to her in English.
What he meant was that they did all this just because it makes everyone happy. It wasn't done to make money, to compete with other figures being made, to win a prize, only for the joy of making it and all it contributed to the tradition. I thought this was beautiful.
Then I was reminded of how, from time to time, in class my students play games where there is a winner. And, they sometimes ask, is there a prize? And I tell them, your prize is the "glory" of winning (in a joking way). But really, it is the satisfaction that you feel when you see that you have worked and done well. You did it! (I still do give prizes occasionally, but that is only when I inform them ahead of time to prepare for something.) I think it is important for students to learn how to acknowledge and enjoy their feeling of accomplishment within themselves.
And, I guess what I really liked about the "to make happy" was that it was a reminder that much of what we do can be just for the sake of doing it to enrich our lives. We can learn something just because it enriches us as a person, because we enjoy it, because we want to share it with others. Not everything has to be attached to a prize, to make money, to compete and be better than everyone else. It can be just to do it, share some camaraderie, and "to make happy."
To see some pictures of the figures, you can try this link http://www.discover-bali-indonesia.com/photos-ogoh-ogoh-festival.html. They are rather scary!