What is Worth a Happy Dollar to You?

The Portsmouth Rotary Club has a tradition we call “Happy Dollars” – a time when any Rotarian can stand up and donate a dollar (or more) for something he or she is happy about. It’s always great – a new baby or grandbaby; son or daughter’s graduation; a happy vacation; a concert; an award; or any other blessing the member chooses to acknowledge. You drop $1.00 in the bucket. A happy tradition.

At our last meeting, I’d just returned from visiting my mom in Naperville, IL. I got up and dropped a dollar, happy I’d gotten to spend a few days with my cheerful, healthy, soon to be 85-year-old mom.

As I listened to the others’ happy dollar moments, I began to ask myself why I don’t get up more often.

$1.00 for something you’re happy about.

I could acknowledge any number of blessings at every meeting. Why don’t I?

Lots of reasons:

· Custom. No one stands up at every meeting. Plus the happy person usually acknowledges a special event – a birth, graduation, award, or something similar. So you wait until something big happens. I think the last time I stood up was last fall — my 36th wedding anniversary.

· I never thought about it. It just never occurred to me to stand up every time. There’s no reason not to. In fact, there is every reason to stand up, since each happy dollar goes back to the community in some way.

· Will I make a spectacle of myself? Last week I started wondering – Why don’t I? – and I made a private commitment to stand up at each meeting I attend. I’m already beginning to worry: Will people notice? Will they think I’m trying to prove a point, or boast, or promote myself in some way? Will I look foolish?

In August 2008, I wrote about the Revolutionary Act of being publicly happy. It often seems as if there’s a bias against being too happy. We don’t want to stand out from the crowd and appear to be phony or pretentious. In a world that offers much to be serious about, we may believe that happy people lack intelligence.Where did we learn these beliefs?

So… Will I do it – keep my Happy Dollar commitment? I think so. Rotary is a pretty safe place to explore a happy experiment. I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime, what do you have to be happy about today? What would you offer a Happy Dollar for? Maybe you can start a tradition — in your workplace or your family.