As a child, my parents told me I needed to be good. And as I think about the quality of goodness, I wonder if they’re really the same thing or not?
The Santa story makes children think about whether they’ve been ‘naughty or nice’, whether they’ve been ‘good enough’. But sadly, it seems that being good is about approval, which can lead to perfectionism, and a need to never make a mistake and be blameless.
- The 7th Day of Christmas: Filling the World with Kindness (10 Tips)
- The 9th Day of Christmas: Loyalty Matters (10 Tips for Being Loyal to Family)
People who get too caught up in being perfect lose sight of why they’re trying to be good in the first place. It becomes about the act of being good, rather than the relationships that the goodness takes place in.
But as an adult, goodness about having integrity. It’s about having a strong sense of what’s right and just. And I think you can do that without the negative baggage of trying to be perfect.
Here’s ten things to give a go in your quest to contribute to the goodness in the world this Christmas:
1. Start planning. There’s a line running from being impulsive to over planning. We want to help our kids find a happy middle ground where they have plans but can be flexible. Teach them how to think ahead and work out the steps to get there. Whether it’s just going to the city for a movie, or they’re mapping out their first career.
2. Be reliable. Good people turn up on time. They do what they’re say they’ll do. You can count on them.
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3. Be thoughtful. Being good isn’t about ignoring your own needs. It’s about weighing them up against the needs of others. Goodness is about ditching selfishness and perfectionism. It’s about being kind instead.
4. Be faithful. Keep your promises or let people know that you’re not going to live up to expectations.
5. Be clear in what you say. It’s so easy to say something without getting our meaning across or avoid saying things with a clever play of words.
“The lives of good people are brightly lit streets.” – Hebrew proverb
6. Be helpful. Get out there and do kind things for other people. Goodness should be about making this world better for others.
7. Be trustworthy. We can trust good people with our stories, our hopes and our fears. Good people will have your back, no matter what.
8. Be teachable. People filled with goodness are open to new ideas and learning from others.
9. Be reliable. Pick some values to live by and stick to them. In this Christmas series I’ve looked at cheerfulness, generosity, patience and peacefulness. There are lots of other qualities that you could build your life around. So pick a few and hang out with people who share them.
10. Be human. Being good is also about not getting it right all the time. It’s about making the most of this journey of life and getting along as well as we can with the people who share it with us.
Its true that good people stand out in our community. They are the ones we look up to and rely on. Their lives show us the right way to live and how blessed life can be. Goodness is inspiring.
Don’t forget there’s a stack of other Christmas articles to look at as part of my 12 days of Christmas series. Tomorrow I’ll share with you the 9th day of Christmas, which is all about loyalty.
Article supplied with thanks to Rachel Doherty from Tweens 2 Teen. Rachel helps those living and working with young people, through supervision, coaching, speaking and consulting.