General

Grandmother tipped back her silver head and roared with laughter. Eric looked at her with surprise, the advert wasn't even funny. "Gran, what on earth are you laughing about now?" She turned her wizened head, and smiled.

"Oh, well, it was ridiculous! Did you see how 'happy' they all were?" Eric wasn't sure where the old girl was going with this one. Wasn't everyone happy in the adverts? No-one's going to buy a car if everyone looks like they just lost a pound and found a penny.

"Yeah, Gran, but you laughed like it was the best joke you ever heard! You're even crying!"

"Eric, tell me about a time you felt happy."

"When Terry came over for a playdate last week and we ate pizza, that was awesome." Gran nodded. Now how about when you opened your Christmas gifts. Compare them. Were you happy then?" Eric sighed, she was getting battier by the minute.

"'Course I was happy, it was Christmas wasn't it!"

"Think back to that moment when you looked at your pile of gifts and over at your sisters. In that moment was it the same kind of feeling you had when Terry came to play?" Eric frowned. He'd felt a little put out at the time, he'd thought Samantha had gotten the better deal. Come to think of it, didn't she always? Probably Mom had spent more money on her, that was probably why. But it wasn't good manners to whine, maybe then he'd get less next year.

"OK, Gran, there is a difference, but I like Christmas and I like presents, what's your point?" Gran sighed, perhaps Eric wasn't in the right mood for this lesson. But she'd tell him anyway.

"Eric, you bold, beautiful, wonderful boy. Good things feel good. When it doesn't feel good, there's something wrong. I don't know what you were feeling at Christmas, only you do. But bad feelings come from envy, jealousy, greed, emotions like that. We all have them, and they're useful. They let us know when we're on the wrong track." Eric smiled though his mind was already on his computer game, he had zombies to kill...