I just read about the longest-running longitudinal study into human development. The Harvard Grant Study started in 1938 and followed 268 Harvard graduates for 68 years. And it is one of those crazy moments where you watch someone else's life flash before you, but more than crazy it is absolute gold. It is like finding proof of God, when with that amount of data is collected, over that period of time, the findings prove that if the men had a warm relationship with their mother and a happy marriage, their lives were not only happier and healthier but also more financially successfully. It basically shoots "the nature vs nurture" argument squarely in the head too.
Wow! just wow!
Wow because I am a Mum to two toddler boys, wow because I know a man that didn't get on with his Mum and wow, I suddenly feel really terrified.
I know this is all a good thing, because I am determined to love my boys and maintain a warm relationship with them, but life doesn't always work that way and people sometimes get it wrong.
The good news for Mums struggling with their relationships with their sons is this though, the study also found that happiness can be found later in life, by things like finding the right spouse, a health scare or finding a new community, like three examples from the study did.
Christopher Croke wrote in The Australian, "The journeys of the Grant Study men show that most people's lives are more authentically stories of growth and change than they are tales of demographic or genetic destiny."
Scott Stossel wrote in The Atlantic, "Vaillant’s key takeaway, in his own words: “The seventy-five years and twenty million dollars expended on the Grant Study points … to a straightforward five-word conclusion: ‘Happiness is love. Full stop.’ ”
It seems apt to end hAPpyRIL with that final note. Loving others is the most powerful and fulfilling thing we can do in this life.
Love your family, love your friends, love the humans you've never met,
but most of all LOVE your children.