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Once I had a Christmas party for a group of homeless men in a transitional living program that I was the director of. I had bought some inexpensive but practical gifts and wrapped them. They had to make ornaments for the tree out of whatever they could find that was available to them. I brought some good holiday music, and there was some good food and beverages that were donated. Most of them sat in their chairs with their arms folded and looks on their faces that said, I dare you to make me have fun. I stopped the music, announced my observation of their behavior, and added: “Joy and happiness are a choice. You can choose to make this party fun or make it a drag. It is no one’s job to entertain you. You have to learn to entertain yourself. If you are bored, go look in the mirror because it is probably because you are boring.” They slowly came around and made some of the best ornaments you’ve ever seen out of scraps. They talked, danced, laughed, ate, and we all had a really good time. Several years later, one of the men who had moved on with his life paid me a visit. He told me that he had turned his life around and was doing really well. He thanked me and said it all began for him at that Christmas party. He said it dawned on him that day that he was responsible for his life and happiness––no one else. Am I choosing happiness or misery?

Daily Keepsake: I will take responsibility for my own joy and I will try to share it with those around me. I will create my own joy today by…