bridging differences

The Deep Fear That Makes Us Turn to Mister Rogers – Happiness Article

I’ve spent a lot of time with Mister Rogers over the last three years as I researched and wrote my book about his life and faith. Throughout, I have been fascinated by the question of why we keep summoning him forth from memory. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood by Sony Pictures Releasing premiered on November 22, 2019. For decades, we have recalled Fred whenever something terrible happened in our world, sharing his comforting words and image on social media.…

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In the Long Run, Diversity Wins – Happiness Article

Around the world, religious bigotry is on the rise. In a number of European Union countries, rising Muslim migration seems to be driving support for anti-Muslim political parties. This has also been true, to a lesser extent, in the United States. On both sides of the Atlantic, open anti-Semitism appears to be increasing. Is religious diversity too politically difficult and socially disruptive, as many argue? Perhaps, the argument goes, the stability and social peace of these countries is maintained by…

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How Compassion Helped One Woman Leave an Extremist Group – Happiness Article

I first became aware of the Westboro Baptist Church when it threatened to picket my son’s preschool, which was at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco. Megan Phelps-Roper I wondered: Why in the world would anyone do that? Some Googling revealed that Westboro was based in Topeka, Kansas, and for a quite a few years had been very active in picketing Jewish organizations and the funerals of people who died of AIDS/HIV or gay-bashings, with signs that famously said…

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How to Find Your Silver Linings – Happiness Article

MAGGIE SMITH It’s funny, my daughter this year, in her Mother’s Day card wrote to me, “Thank you for helping me be optimistic.” And it made me cry, but it also made me laugh, because if you had told me even five years ago, but certainly 10 years ago, and definitely 15 years ago, that anyone would accuse me of being an optimist, I would have laughed. I’m sure my own mother would have laughed. I would probably call myself…

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What Does It Mean to Be an Engaged Citizen? – Happiness Article

This year’s Independence Day marks the 243rd birthday of the United States—a country that today has a population of around 330 million people from all walks of life. Our growing diversity, combined with an increasingly polarized politics, challenges us to imagine what a modern American civic identity looks like. America is not the same country it was decades ago, so it makes sense that our view of what it means to be a citizen in today’s America would evolve, as…

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What Are the Solutions to Political Polarization? – Happiness Article

What drives political polarization? Is it simply disagreement over the great issues of the day? Not necessarily. Recent research by the More in Common Foundation found that more than three-fourths of Americans support both stricter gun laws and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants brought here as children. Roughly the same number of Americans agree “that our differences are not so great that we cannot come together.” Are they right? Advertisement X Oct. 10-12, 2019: Greater Good Institute for…

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A Better Way to Talk to Yourself – Happiness Article

THERESA SCOTT When I first got into a relationship with Louis, I kind of thought to myself, “This person doesn’t seem like a person that has been imprisoned for as long as he has.” He had such a balance to his personality, to the way that he carried himself. I’m like, what is going on with this person. We kind of saw each other for two years. Initially, I kind of kept him at arm’s length because I figured that…

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In a Divided World, We Need to Choose Empathy – Happiness Article

As I dialed the number, my palms began to sweat. The person on the other end wasn’t a loan officer or angry lawyer; he was an old friend and we were about to catch up. This should all be mildly pleasant but was instead nerve-wracking. You see, I had reached out to him because we had a problem.  Over the years, my friend’s politics and my own had taken incompatible turns. On social media, I saw him growing reactionary; he…

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