Every Monday, I’ll post about discovering genuine hope and authentic answers for living a healthy life.

Stop and think about this: If you listed character qualities to prioritize in your life or for children, which ones would make the list?

In a series of Monday posts, I’ve been writing about the importance of joyful living and consistent gratitude. They give rise to self-respect, self-control, and respect for others. These three character qualities are keys to us meeting our five core needs in healthy ways. (If you’re new to the blog and curious about the other posts, just go back and read those from the past six Mondays.)

Last Monday, I revealed the connection between joyful living and patience. In this last post of the series, we’ll discover another character quality birthed in joyful living that is especially related to our ability and choice to respect others. Is it on your list? Kindness.

Children sometimes tell me they don’t know what “kind” is. They’re told to “be kind” and they’re not exactly sure what that means. How would you define it? How do you know when you’re being kind?

My dictionary defines kindness as “sympathetic, friendly, gentle, tenderhearted, generous, cordial, etc.; kind implies the possession of sympathetic or generous qualities, either habitually or specifically.”

Can you see how kindness is related to joyfulness? As I explained, when we have a life purpose and we choose to forgive ourselves and those who hurt us, we’re able to be consistently joyful. Both having purpose and knowing people deserve grace, will motivate us to be sympathetic, gentle, and tenderhearted.

It’s joyfulness that drives habitual kindness. That’s what we want, right? And, for our children? A predisposition toward kindness and not kindness that is determined by the people involved. That’s not the best. No. We shouldn’t have to think about whether to be kind in this situation or that situation. We should just be kind.

Kindness should be a consistent, habitual part of our character. If you agree and you desire this for your children, tell them why you believe they were created so they know their purpose. This will add to their optimism and other-centeredness. Teach them why and how to forgive. Joyfulness will grow and kindness will be birthed. Talk about these qualities all at the same time so they learn they’re connected.

Habitual kindness is not dependent upon how others behave. It is dependent upon us. Are you up to it?