2012 – 5th Grade National 2nd Place Winner

Elisabeth Wang, Texas.

What is the meaning of life ?

The Search for Happiness

We can spend a lifetime searching for it, for it is the driving force that makes us feel alive. What is it you ask? It is happiness. What brings us happiness varies from person to person. Thus, the meaning of life will be different for everyone. For some people, happiness could be making the world a better place. Doing good works and contributing to society gives them a sense of satisfaction that their lives make a difference and that they were created for a purpose. Still many believe happiness is found through spiritual enlightenment.

The philosopher Plato believed that wisdom and knowledge led to happiness, while his teacher Socrates thought that people always act as they believe to be best. Socrates believed it was necessary condition to live well. He believed that happiness was found in leading a good life. Even though these are different ideas, what unites them all is the quest for joy and peace in life.

What brings us happiness changes as we grow older. For example, children might believe hedonistically that life is about opening presents on their birthday or having fun watching a movie with their friends. Adults might think that the meaning of life is about the search for love, finding spiritual enlightenment, or teaching children. Throughout history and throughout the world, we have always questioned the meaning of life.

We are on a journey to develop the soul—to learn what makes us come alive, for when we stop, we die. Life is full of choices that bring meaning to life. Sometimes we make a wrong choice that leads us down the path of sorrow, but it is through these experiences we learn what it means to be happy. When we experience sadness, we learn how great it feels when we are happy. I believe you cannot feel happiness without experiencing sadness. Everyone will experience some sort of stress in their lives, but what matters is the discovery of how that can make you grow and be happy, and that is the meaning of life. As I stated before, I think the meaning of life is to find happiness.


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