The Pinecrest virtue for May is Joy. Joy is the mark of a Christian. Our faith is one of hope and joy because Jesus’ life and mission did not end in the pain of the cross and the stone-cold tomb. He conquered sin and death through the glory of his resurrection, giving us a permanent reason for hope and joy, as well as sure proof of his love for us. All of this is a reason to live our life in hope, joy, and charity. Since we have a reason to be joyful in Christ’s resurrection, every circumstance can be an opportunity for good, even the difficult circumstances.
We may not feel happy in every circumstance, but we can still be joyful. Here we find a distinction between happiness and joy: happiness is a way we feel, while joy is a way we think or look at life. We experience happiness while we choose joy. Therefore, we can be joyful in difficult moments or situations, because we can be sure that God loves us, and we can also choose how to react or act in that situation. Our best choice is always to love, just like God has loved us. Our joy therefore also becomes something that we spread to other people, since it is not something we keep to ourselves.
A few ways that you can help your child live joyfully are:
Help your child (and yourself!) to remember that joy doesn’t come from the things we have, the places we go, or the things that we do. While all these might make us happy, our true joy comes from knowing we are loved. Here is a good moment to count our blessings and thank God for all his gifts. One practical idea would be to create a nightly gratitude list encompassing the blessings you and your child received throughout the day. This will help your child begin to recognize the Lord’s presence in her everyday life and instill in her an attitude of gratitude.
Take some time to pray as a family, whether it is in the morning on your way to school, or before going to bed, or another moment during the day. Prayer helps us to remember what God has done for us, and it also puts us in direct contact with him, who is the source of our joy! It is also a moment to remember the needs of others and pray for them, since it can help your child look outside of his own wants and needs. It also opens his eyes to ways he could serve or help others, which in turn spreads joy.
When your child is tempted to complain or whine, help her to look for joy in that situation – to recognize the positive. Even when circumstances are challenging, we can still find the silver-lining, and choose how we will respond.
As always, when we seek to teach virtue to children, it comes back to what they observe in us. They are consistently looking to us to see how they should live. Take a few moments to see how you are living joyfully in your own life, to see how you react and respond to life’s circumstances.
Sarah Oryschak a consecrated member of Regnum Christi and is a campus minister for the Lower School at Pinecrest Academy. Pinecrest Academy is a private PreK3-12 Catholic school located in Cumming, South Forsyth, just minutes from Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Milton and Suwanee. We serve families of all faiths seeking a Christian education for their children.