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Happiness has ‘ripple effect’

Published 11:03pm Friday, December 14, 2012

An author appearance at Northern Shores Elementary School on Friday could have ripple effects at the school for years to come.

The book “Ripple’s Effect” was written by Amy Blankson, mother of a kindergartner at the school, and her brother, Shawn Achor. It is all about the importance of having a positive effect on the world around you, Blankson said.

Kids raise their hands to respond to a question posed by Shawn Achor, one of the co-authors of “Ripple’s Effect.” He and his sister, co-author Amy Blankson, talked about the book at Northern Shores Elementary School Friday morning.

In the book, a shark called Snark and a dolphin named Ripple are having trouble co-existing.

“The shark is causing all sorts of tension and chaos in the water, because he doesn’t want anyone to have fun,” Blankson said. “Ripple teaches him about how to be happy.”

Blankson and Achor both know a lot about happiness. Blankson has been a consultant for more than 15 years, teaching businesses, foundations and nonprofit organizations about how to create positive and productive leaders. Achor, author of bestseller “The Happiness Advantage” spent more than a decade researching happiness and teaching positive psychology at Harvard University.

They moved to Suffolk this summer when Blankson’s husband, who is in the military, was transferred here. Achor and his wife followed to be near family.

Their presentation meant a little extra at Northern Shores, where the school mascot is a dolphin.

“We didn’t know the school mascot was the dolphin until we moved here,” Blankson said.

The presentation concluded with an experiment. Children paired up, and one tried to remain solemn while the other wore a big, cheesy grin. Then they switched and repeated.

Nearly every child broke down and laughed.

Blankson said she believes even young children can master the art of happiness.

“I think the idea that happiness can spread, it’s easy to grasp but it’s a powerful concept,” she said.

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