But perhaps that's OK. Surely these aren't meant to be sufficient for an education in happiness, whatever that is. The bigger surprise came as I read on, since it became clear that the happiness involved is not anything Aristotle would have recognised and, I think, is not really anything that I recognise as deserving the name either. Instead, happiness seems to be equated with something called 'emotional resilience'.
Here is Manchester city council's director of children's services, Pauline Newman:
"This is very much about providing children and young people with the tools they need to manage their feelings and motivation and to find solutions. The work complements what schools already do in parts of the curriculum and in ways they support children.
"Like adults, some children and young people seem able to deal with anything that life brings their way, but others do need help. Learning the kind of skills that will help them cope better emotionally with these things can make an enormous difference in young people's lives - not just at school but later in life as adults. "
Manage their feelings? As in 'anger management'? Dealing with anything life brings their way? Coping emotionally? Am I the only one to find these thoroughly depressing components of a happy life?Certainly enormous and extravagant bursts of rage at inappropriate objects are not a good idea; they disrupt and damage the person and those around them. But what is it to 'manage' these feelings? Perhaps it's some good old-fashioned English bottling up of one's feelings. Or perhaps its the older Stoic notion of apatheia: putting up with the world because of an acceptance of one's place within the order of things.
This doesn't sound like happiness to me. And I'm worried that children of 11 years old are being encouraged to take on this sort of idea. Surely it would be better to offer them hope, encourage their ambition, excite their creative and intellectual abilities? That sounds like a useful set of tools for happiness to me. But then again, perhaps Manchester city council thinks it is better to have 'emotionally resilient' young people who put up with things as they are.