Choose to be happy
Every day for weeks, this little 5-year-old girl would excitedly tell me she was going to have a baby sister and just recently, that baby was born.
Two days after the birth of the baby, I discovered the mom was in jail for doing drugs throughout the pregnancy and the baby was very sick in the hospital. I later found out the baby doesn’t even share the same dad as this little girl.
Despite everything going on, this little girl and her dad are some of the happiest people I know. Sometimes when talking with this dad, I can see how much life is weighing down on him. But he never acts that way. He and his daughter have so many reasons to be upset at life and blame this mom for what she has done, but instead, they choose to live happily and don’t complain. They chose to make the best of a terrible situation and because of that, they have a happy life.
Happiness truly is a choice. We can’t choose what other people are going to do, but if we choose to react in a positive way we will have a positive life. Like this admirable little girl and her amazing father, we can forgive and avoid grudges, look for the positive parts of life and be thankful for what we do have. By doing so, we can be happy no matter what life throws at us.
— Samantha Wright
Wood Cross, Utah
Dealing with stress
We are under a lot of psychological pressures in our everyday lives. This includes stress from work and family life, anxiety from school and finances and strain from health and disease. This leads to a need for escape and ways to cope. There are many solutions such as meditation, doctors and exercise.
What many people don’t know is that artistic activities such as knitting, crocheting, macramé and ceramics can help tremendously. The repetitive nature of these activities can lower heart rate and blood pressure, and lead to a more relaxed state of being, similar to the effect of meditation. But they can also lead to satisfaction and higher self-esteem from the resulting tangible and usable creations that are aesthetically pleasing.
These activities can also help break addictions and decrease body fat because while the hands and mind are occupied creating useful objects, time is taken away from emotional eating and potentially getting involved in addictive substances.
Although this may not be for everyone, these artistic activities can greatly help reduce stress and anxiety, therefore we should put a greater emphasis on them.
— Amy Gilliat
Teacher Pay and Question 1
This November, Utah residents will have the opportunity to vote yes or no on Question 1. This nonbinding opinion poll gauges public opinion on a potential measure that would levy a 10 cent gas tax increase to fund state road construction. In turn, infrastructure funds would be rerouted to education funding, according to Ballotpedia.
Utah’s current gas tax is currently 47.81 cents per gallon, including federal taxes. If any tax increase for education was passed, the tax rate per gallon would be several cents above the current United States average of 52.12 cents per gallon.
As the son of a grade-school teacher, I know from firsthand experience that a price cannot be put on education. As a teacher in Arizona — and later in Utah — my mom has spent countless hours of her own time and hundreds of dollars out of her own pocket to provide her students with a quality education.
Many other teachers in the Beehive State frequently engage in the same practices, all for an average pay of $54,180 a year, according to Sokanu — which is well above the U.S. salary average of $39,580, but still below national average pay for engineers, computer science specialists and mathematicians, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
I strongly encourage all Utah residents to support our teachers and vote yes on Question 1. It is worth the additional 10 cents per gallon to provide Utah’s teachers with improved pay and funding. In turn, these teachers could be in a better position to properly educate and inspire the next generation of innovators and specialists in our nation’s workforce.
— Sam Bigelow, Universe Campus Editor