Why Joy comes Before Kindness

I don’t mean to indoctrinate my children, but I want to establish values. Every parent feels that way, but, like every parent, I think my values are best.

Joy comes first. It’s a simply philosophy, but my belief is that joy is an expression of gratitude, which is in itself a focusing of the vibration known as love. Not only does this philosophy set a high point of attraction for my children, but it also has an incalculable ripple of cause and effect as they spread their golden light moving joyfully through their day. So in our house the number 1 rule is “Have Fun.”

When it Olivia has fun it normally means someone or something needs to go in the laundry later.

Every day when we drop off Olivia (4) at her school, we say “don’t forget rule number 1!

And she responds: “Have Fun!”

It’s one of our little family quirks, I’m sure you have them too.

Today, as Olivia was signing her name in giant, irregular letters in the school sign in sheet, we did our little joy exchange. “Have fun!” she cried, her voice a gleeful little tinkle.

Her teacher turned to me and said, “Well the number 1 rule around here is to be kind.”

It floored me. Because, let’s face it, being kind is pretty important. And when someone questions a parenting principle, as a mother you have no choice but to descend into the strange and multilayered confusing and contradictory state of mind known as “Mama Bear”:

  1. Crippling guilt: I’m always feeling guilty about something, and I’m told it’s a mothering phenomenon. In this situation I suddenly felt profoundly guilty that I’m not teaching my child to be kind: Would she grow up to be that terrifying schoolyard bully who seems to be able to turn anything into a weapon? Like a gym sock with the doorknob broken off from the science lab in it? Or a plastic ruler, snapped and sharpened with a breadknife from the home economics lab? (I still have the scar on my left hand.) What have I done??? Olivia may be the kindest, most well-mannered child right now, but with my awful sub-par parenting it’s only a matter of time before a monster bursts out of her tiny body.
  2. Fury: What did you say??? Be kind?? How dare you, madam? My child is the perfect being learning perfect lessons from her perfect mother, and should you utter any further expression of doubt in my infallible parental values I shall morph into a polar bear and whack you so hard you’ll cannonball across the classroom directly into the chest of dress up clothes. Oh yes! We shall see how you emerge then! Boom! Who’s the teacher now, bitch??
  3. Doubt: But kindness really is important. And joy is such a selfish thing.
  4. Confusion: Wait… What do I really believe here?

In that magical millisecond I processed all the layers, once more resulting in the miracle of rational response (always a surprise). I didn’t whack Miss Tilda across the room, for that would have been neither kind (her rule) nor fun (my rule). Instead my brain checked in with my higher self and computed the veracity and worthiness of my values and churned out the following conclusion:

Kindness is a word that describes behavior, not a state of mind. You can be kind in action while being cruel in thought – and the energy you’re contributing to all-that-is always corresponds to your state of mind, not your deed. Tossing a beggar a coin while silently thinking (and feeling) “take it, you filthy low life” is not truly giving. But if your state of mind is in a love vibration, true kindness is a necessary symptom. You can’t help but be compassionate towards others when your entire being is in a state of joy. Joyfulness is a way of living gratitude, and gratitude is an amplification of love focused toward the aspect of your life for which you are grateful. Like a magnifying glass in the sun. You can check out my article What is Gratitude for an explanation of why this is so, but it goes something like this:


In other words, by living in the practical present state known as JOY you are submitting a vibration to the universe that tells it you are happy and content with the eternal here and now present. This translates as GRATITUDE, and your point of attraction is set to manifest more of what brings you joy. You can’t be in a vibration of gratitude without also being in a vibration of LOVE, because love is the root vibration in this particular case. Kindness therefore naturally follows. Teaching your child to be kind is training them to behave in a certain way, but show your child how to set their state of mind first and their behavior will be an effortless and natural result of their present vibration.

So I didn’t whack Miss Tilda. “Will you respect Miss Tilda’s rule while you’re in her classroom?” I asked Olivia instead, who had joined the other children at the painting table and was dabbing blobs of yellow paint on paper cut outs of lemons and limes (this week is all about the letter L).

“Yeth,” she lisped, too busy having fun to notice the complex and painful exercise of scrutinizing my values that I’d just completed just the split second before.

So, after careful consideration, I stand by my belief that joy comes first.

Now go and have fun! 🙂

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 Elizabeth is a mom, author, minister of metaphysics, and reluctant bureaucrat. Her comic fantasy novel “Ascension Denied” is set in purgatory but is nonetheless available to the living, now, online, at all major retailers. Stay in touch through:

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