Vaillant also dramatically expanded his scope by taking over a defunct study of juvenile delinquents in inner-city Boston, run by the criminologists Sheldon and Eleanor Glueck. Launched in 1939, the study had a control group of nondelinquent boys who grew up in similar circumstances—children of poor, mostly foreign-born parents, about half of whom lived in a home without a tub or a shower. In the 1970s, Vaillant and his staff tracked down most of these nondelinquent boys—it took years—so that today the Harvard Study of Adult Development consists of two cohorts, the “Grant men” and the “Glueck men.” Vaillant also arranged to interview a group of women from the legendary Stanford Terman study, which in the 1920s began to follow a group of high-IQ kids in California.
When it comes to happiness, myths abound. For centuries we have hotly debated what makes a good life, where satisfaction ultimately comes from and fundamentally how we can be happy. The determination to ask what leads to human flourishing is perhaps what sets apart civilised countries from uncivilised ones. It is only recently, though, that we have come up with anything as preposterous as the idea that the government can and should survey us to work out how to make us happy.
What really makes us happy? How spending time with …
Another thing that makes me happy is reading God’s Word. It strengthens and encourages! Once, it felt like a chore to read it daily, but one day, something changed. From time to time, it would slip from my mind to read it for the day, (and that would be my fault because I had spent that time doing something else) and on those days, I remember that I had realized that something was different about that day. Maybe on that day, nothing inspired me, or I was snappier…I don’t know. But what I do know is that on that day, I could tell that something was missing.