Understanding The Genius Quality Joy

Understanding The Genius Quality: Joy

When discussing what you enjoy about parenting and teaching, I wonder if you would include what I would. One thing stands out for me – whether when I was teaching second graders, coaching middle schoolers, being a university professor, or doing what I do now to share with parents, teachers, and students. I love watching people respond when ideas make sense. It brings them joy, and makes me joyful!

I always have. Do you? Although I taught second graders a long time ago, I can still remember many names and faces and delightful, energizing times as truth made sense to them. They would smile broadly and sometimes come up to me, show me their work, and proclaim, “I got this one right!” They were joyful.

College students responded well to truth. And, as recently as last week, I watched young adults in my audience respond with the twelfth genius quality: joy. It rose from deep within them as an insight I shared connected to something in their experience.

Joy is a Reaction

According to Dr. Armstrong’s research, joy is a genius quality. He defines it as something that “Comes from deep inside us when a new connection is made, a new insight obtained, a new feat accomplished, or a skill mastered. Thankfully, I have experienced this often and seen other experience it.

Let’s acknowledge the uniqueness of this definition. I love what my colleague, Tina Hollenbeck, has written: We first need to understand the true definition of joy. It is not “happiness.” If it were, the scriptural admonition to “count it all joy” (James 1:2) would be cruel. One cannot be “happy” when a job is lost, a house burns to the ground, or a dear loved one is snatched away from this life, and it would be terrible to suggest such a thing. However, we can have “joy” in such circumstances – if we understand that joy is not the giddy glee of happiness. Instead, it’s actually the presence of a deep, internal conviction that all things will eventually work out for good.

Do you see joy in those you influence? It’s powerful and deeply motivating, isn’t it? Let’s commit to teaching, communicating, and parenting to keep this and the other genius qualities alive in others: curiosity, playfulness, imagination, creativity, wonder, wisdom, inventiveness, vitality, sensitivity, flexibility, humor, and joy.

Each can be awakened, acknowledged, and strengthened. It’s our privilege to be part of that process! To further help you, next week I’ll blog about how to awaken the qualities.

“The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.”
Leonardo da Vinci


Check out other blogs in this series: