Gifts of Character: Integrity – The Definition

Each month we will discuss one virtue with all of our students. This month’s virtue is Integrity. This will be defined in the following ways for our students.
Young students: “I do what’s right even if nobody knows or everyone is watching.”

Older students: Being true to yourself, your values, and your word

We are an education center, working with students on physical self-defense skills while empowering families to bring out the best in our children and ourselves – through the martial arts. We believe every child has 52 gifts in them already. They only need to be taught how to grow and use them in their life. Balanced Life Skills serves parents, teachers, and students to reach that goal.

How does accountability show optimism?

Optimism is about believing and expecting that no matter what has happened that things will turn out well. So when any one of us, a child or adult finds it hard to be accountable for the mistakes they have made, they are in effect saying that they are having a difficult time believing that there is any good that can come from admitting to a mistake.

All of us make mistakes. Sometimes they are accidents. And sometimes it is a choice. So what is a mistake.? It is when we do something we wish we had not done. It may be something we said, an action we made or something that we are still learning about and tried and just need more skill.

So why do individuals cover up, lie or blame others? It could be because they do not want to get into trouble or it may be that they do not want to look bad, or thought less of by others. It could come from embarrassment or a fear of disappointing another person. They may be afraid that they will lose a friend or someone will be angry with them. They are pessimistic and see the mistake as permanent damage to themselves, even pervasive as in they “always” do this or this is just how I am.  

We know though that anytime a mistake is made there is the possibility of a lesson being learned. When a person covers up or does not take responsibility they are in reality saying that with this mistake there is no lesson I can learn or will learn. The question we want to ask ourselves or our children is “What did you learn from this mistake?”  If there is a lesson learned that we can put into practice – that is just a part of life and growing up!

So how do we handle mistakes as a Balanced Life Skills student?

  1. Admit it
  2. Apologize
  3. Amends (fix it)

Remember though that in making amends it is about making it better for the person we hurt.

None of this can be forced but if we approach mistakes as an opportunity to learn a lesson we will continue to grow and develop our virtues

As a parent we can ask our children after they have made a mistake – What lesson did you learn? What could you do differently in the future? What virtue do you need to help you with this situation? How can I help you?

Optimism is believing that that growth and learning comes when we expect to do better next time – no matter if it is a math test or how we speak or treat those around us.

Defining Optimism for our children

Optimism is critical to the health and success of our children in the future. In fact, it is #2 on the list of needs for children if they are to be resilient in life. If you would like to know what #1 is ask me on my YouTube Channel. I will answer it there. You may be surprised

Gifts of Character: Optimism – The Definition

Each month we will discuss one virtue with all of our students. This month’s virtue is Optimism. This will be defined in the following ways for our students.

Young students:  I look on the bright side!

Older students:  Believing and expecting that everything will work out for the best.

We are not your typical after school activity, in fact, we are an education center, working with students on physical self-defense skills while empowering families to bring out the best in our children and ourselves – through the martial arts. We believe every child has 52 gifts in them already. They only need to be taught how to grow and use them in their life. Balanced Life Skills serves parents, teachers, and students to reach that goal

The benefits of kindness for provider and recipient

Let’s talk about the benefits of kindness. We depend on the acts of kindness from others for our survival. From the time we were born and then again at the end of our life we are decidedly in need of others caring for us. Kindness is among the principled things that make life meaningful and bring joy and happiness to both the provider and the recipient.

Kindness creates in us a feeling of belonging, warmth, and openness that allows us to communicate to others. All parties involved get the feeling of friendship and trust. We can get rid of our feelings of doubt and insecurity while we can relate to others more easily. The benefits of kindness mean a more peaceful world, and happier life, and a life of meaning.

When practicing kindness for others, it is done with other virtues at the core, including honesty, forgiveness, trust, mindfulness, empathy, patience, respect, loyalty, gratitude and service. When others extend kindness to us, we see these same virtues in them, and soon we realize that we have all of these virtues in us already and it is a matter of digging them out, acknowledging them and educating ourselves in the best ways to use them.

The opposite is true when there is a lack of kindness, even mean-spiritedness. Individually we may not show kindness in some ways, sometimes inadvertently. When that happens, our conscience cries out to us to develop a virtue that we have already mentioned. We may have been responding to a selfish act toward us, or it might be shown as a result of fear, anger or frustration.

However, when we slow down and consider what we want to be known for, we can choose kindess. Our survival both as an individual and as a human race depends on acts of kindness practiced by humans. Kind teachers help students learn; kind parents reinforce their unconditional love for their children, individuals willing to feed the hungry, care for stray animals, play music for the elderly, cleaning a park, sweeping the floor, reading a story to a child, smiling at a stranger.

None of these can be done out of guilt or compulsion though. Kind acts come from our very best selves doing what we can do and become who we are – Kind individuals. So don’t let the problems in the world, the billions of people suffering from hunger or injustice overwhelm us from cultivating kindness in our world. A kind society begins with us as one individual showing kindness to one other individual. This is our starting point. Think Kindness!

Thoughtfulness gives opportunity for random acts of kindness


Every year there are days set aside for everyone to concentrate on kindness to others. The World Kindness Day held in the fall, Random Acts of Kindness day in the winter, and the whole month of February is devoted to kindness. It is great to have those special occasions, but it is those random acts and sometimes anonymous acts that pleasantly surprise us and create a desire to “pay it forward,” doing the same for others.

What can we do though, what are the opportunities we have to be kind that come up for us unexpectedly that we do not plan for or may not be encouraged to do. All of us have these opportunities, and our children can look for ways to be a part of doing kind acts this way.

An act of kindness may be done without prompting or without thinking about it too much on purpose if we are practicing thoughtfulness. When walking into a store, we may thoughtfully look around to see if someone is near us that we could hold the door open to let them in. We may be even aware of not letting the door go back into their face as we are leaving. Or letting someone in line ahead of us if they have fewer items than ourselves. That would be thoughtful and use courtesy.

Our act of kindness may be as simple as a smile directed to someone we pass on the sidewalk, or the recognition of a homeless person. Little recognition’s of visibility can make a big difference in a person’s life, so how do we show that we see and value people? Every time we do a kind act for someone we are saying to them, “I see you.  I value you as human.” So it could be a smile, question or a helping hand.

How could we show kindness at home not connected to what expectations of sharing responsibilities? What could you do if a family member was sick, how could you be helpful? It might be as simple as being more quiet than usual, or asking what they need that we might bring to them? We might show them we are thinking about them by getting or making a card or delivering flowers to their side to cheer them up.

At school it could be noticing the new person in your class, inviting them to join your lunch table. Maybe you have seen someone that is alone and not engaged with others. Do they need a listening ear, a friend, or just an acknowledgment? They may be sad about an event in their life, or they may be getting picked on by aggressors. What could you do to be kind?

How would you show kindness to your pets? How could you show kindness to others in the community, seniors, handicapped, homeless?  If you are a parent, think of areas of life that you would like to see your child show more kindness or show it differently and ask them “What would kindness look like in this situation?”

When we take care of others when they are in need or least expect it, we are practicing kindness. Our goal is to THINK KINDNESS.