"People hesitate to profess the goal of happiness because they feel it diminishes other things they’ve been taught to value. My contention is that happiness vividly accompanies and complements those other values. In fact, I’m quite sure that most pursuits, even the seemingly most arduous ones, are enhanced by the person’s parallel quest for happiness."
Under a cerulean sky and brilliant sun, Roxbury Latin began its 373rd school year. Before classes began, Headmaster Kerry Brennan addressed the School in Hall—a student body of exactly 300 including the 45 boys that comprise the new sixth class along with 16 boys added to Classes V, IV, and III—on the subject of happiness, "an especially noteworthy noun."
Before the Headmaster's address, Mike Pojman read an essay on happiness by Michael Crichton, which aims to invalidate the mythology that surrounds the notion of happiness. To wit, "The more attention you lavish on yourself, the more unhappy you become. If you want to be happy, forget yourself. Forget all of it — how you look, how you feel, how your career is going. Just drop the whole subject of you."
In his talk, Mr. Brennan offered his own response to Crichton by both attesting to the validity of happiness as a goal to pursue and identifying the human endeavors that really can bring happiness, including many things that form the warp and woof of school life. He concluded:
"You will practice each day, I hope, as you seek to bring the balance into your lives that will in part be represented by your being happy, but it will start with an attitude, as most important things do. You will will yourselves to make this a priority, to feel it, to know it, to learn how to find it, and to provide it for others. In our school, in this garden of possibility, while other values and aspirations may compete for your attention, let happiness be your constant companion…."
The opening day ceremonial concluded with the all-school handshake of tradition around the courtyard.
Read the Headmaster's address in full here. View photos from the day here.