Four generations and happy: what’s the secret?


One couple, 60 years of marriage, four generations.

Four children, 13 grandchildren, almost 10 great-grandchildren, and a lot of happiness. Even if exceptional nowadays, it is still possible! A little bit of luck is necessary but above all you need to put effort, it takes willingness and motivation. We went asking the great-grandmother in question (83 years old) for her key of happiness.

Did you know at the moment you married how your future would be like?

I felt in love and got married at a very young age so honestly, although my husband did, I had no idea of what my future would bring me.

Families get smaller; people attach less importance to their families. Do you think it is still possible now for young people to create such a big and close family? What would you suggest them?

I think it is more difficult nowadays to create big families but I still believe family is really important because it is a support for everyone.

What is essential to be a good mother, grandmother and great-grandmother?

The importance is to open your arms and your heart. You don’t deserve something, you need to listen and give of yourself. It is crucial to pass along your values to future generations.

What is your key of happiness?

Love, beauty, nature and fostering the development of the people you love.

One of her great-grandchildren (8 years old) shares with us with a big smile that it is so nice to have a great-grandmother.

“She is sweet, gives me a lot of love and makes me feel good. It is important to have a big family because you laugh a lot when you’re together and you get a lot of love and friendship.”


Happiness is not something that just happens, it is something that you work for, something that you cultivate and fight for. Money could be a determinant of happiness but a much more important one is family. North and colleagues (2008) found out that the quality of family relationships is much more correlated with happiness than family income.

“If you ask people about this, I think most would say that family relationships are more important than family income for happiness,” North says. “But if you look at the way people allocate their time, you might get a different idea.”

Did you also know that good mood is correlated with long life? Andrew Steptoe and Jane Wardle (2011) showed through the results of their longitudinal study (3,800 people aged 52 to 79) that the risk of dying in the next 5 years was 35% lower for the happiest people even after taking into account the impact of age, disease and lifestyle factors on people’s happiness. Although these results do not prove whether happiness actually causes you to live longer, they support previous investigations linking well-being to longer life.

Family has a positive effect on happiness and happiness could make you live longer. What are you waiting for, seek family not fortune!


Sources: Wageindicator (dutch), The Telegraph

More info: Tutor2u Sociology Blog

Images: Mallory Renee Photography, Carole C. Good, Massachusetts Family Institute

In WLT: When Is A Lot, Too Much?


Author Spotlight

Marie-Laure Derom

Marie-Laure Derom


Training in Naturopathy. CENATHO (European school of holistic traditional Naturopathy), Paris, France (2012-2013)

-  Health promoter in a medical center. Brussels, Belgium (March '12 - Present)

-  Head of  WeLearnToday (Dec '11 - Nov '12)

-  Researcher at the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health. University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain (Jan '10 - Oct '12)

-  European Master in Metabolism and Nutrition. University of Navarra, Pamplona, Spain (2010-2011)

-  Master in Neuropsychology. Catholic University of Louvain. Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium (2008-2010).

-  International exchange program. ... Read Full

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