Maren Schmidt: Benefits of The Happy Song |

Maren Schmidt: Benefits of The Happy Song

Maren Schmidt

“I don’t feeeel good,” was the daily lament from one of my 4-year-old students. Whatever ways we tried to distract Zoe and get her mind off her problems and into some fun learning, Zoe chose to sit and complain about vague physical aliments.

Verifying with her parents that Zoe didn’t have any pathological reasons for her complaints, I tried to think of ways to help Zoe focus on something she considered interesting.

My attempts to find activities that Zoe enjoyed left me empty handed. Zoe, though, did like to sing and joined in any time singing occurred in our classroom.

Books, such as “Success Through a Positive Mental Attitude,” by Napoleon Hill and “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” by Dale Carnegie, comprised part of my childhood family library.

Projecting PMA (positive mental attitude) was a non-negotiable item for my father.

Watching my dad shave and repeat positive affirmations form some of my earliest memories. The only kind of wine my father liked was in a bottle, and I’ve learned to appreciate that vintage wisdom.

Needless to say, Zoe’s downbeat attitude seemed ripe for change with PMA.

In the years BC (before children), I worked on the same floor as sales training for the Combined Insurance Company, founded by W. Clement Stone, an early proponent of PMA.

During training sessions, a cheer reverberated throughout the halls.

“I feel happy! I feel healthy! I feel wonderful!”

Three times – with enthusiasm – the sales force cheered it each day.

I have to admit, just listening I felt better after each pep rally.

Back to Zoe.

One morning, perhaps in frustration with Zoe’s downtrodden attitude, a song bubbled from my imagination straight from those days of the PMA pep rallies. Mixed with some jazz hands, a plie, a turn, and voila.

The Happy Song and Dance was born.

I feel happy, happy, happy (with jazz hands).

I feel healthy, healthy, healthy (plie with strong arms).

I feel happy, happy, happy (with jazz hands).

I feel wonderful (turn with jazz hands).

And repeat three times, or until PMA appears with smiles and giggles.

Like a thirsty camel to an oasis, Zoe joined in and smiled and laughed.

After that first singing activity, Zoe spent the next hour complaint free and chose to engage in a learning activity for the first time in nine weeks of class. For Zoe, every day with the Happy Song helped her have a happy day.

The Happy Song and Dance remained on my list of “songs to be sung everyday” for many years.

For Zoe, the Happy Song seemed to be the PMA tool that helped her move out of her downward spiral of self-absorbed complaining.

Here’s a belated thank you to Combined Insurance Company and their PMA for providing the words to help one off-course little girl, and many others, move in a direction to be happy, healthy and wonderful.

Kids Talk TM deals with childhood development issues. Maren Schmidt founded a Montessori school and holds a Masters of Education from Loyola College in Maryland. She has more than 25 years experience working with children and holds teaching credentials from the Association Montessori Internationale. She is author of Understanding Montessori: A Guide for Parents. Contact her at or visit Copyright 2009.

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