Jeffrey's Bay, South Africa - Photo by Reggie Joiner

Sometimes we can learn the most important principles in the most unexpected places. I was a little surprised the first time I visited Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa. It is a township on the coast where several thousand people are fighting poverty, disease, crime and abuse. Many live in conditions that most of us will never see on a daily basis. I expected to see a lot of pain, suffering and depression. I was not braced for how much joy would actually be present in the lives of so many parents and kids. It’s one of the few places on the planet that the average person would go to learn about how joy works, but it’s a powerful virtue in the lives of so many people that live there. This week I want to pay tribute to these families and the principles they are teaching about joy.

#1. The Right Kind of Joy is Irresistible

It is easy to be immediately drawn to the kids in J-Bay. They radiate an enthusiasm that makes any adult feel important. Their love for life and fun is contagious, and you find yourself almost confused as to why they are so happy when some of them live in the worst possible conditions. Because of their example, I have realized something critical about  the virtue of joy. It is one of the most important characteristics you can nurture in your home. If you want your house to actually be a place your kids want to be, if you hope to create a climate in where they want to spend time, then joy has to be a priority. One of the best ways to attract and keep the heart of your children is to create an atmosphere of joy in your home.

Think about what appeals to you as an adult. Who are the people you are drawn to? More than likely they are people who make you laugh, inspire you with their positive views, and encourage you to love life. When you strive to be a person who demonstrates joy, regardless of the circumstances, you become more intriguing and attractive to those who are closest to you. The opposite is also true. If you hold on to bitterness and give off a consistently negative vibe, you may repel those who are closest to you. As parents, we should champion the quality of joy in our homes if we want to provide an environment that is appealing to our children.

What are you doing to create an atmosphere of  joy in your home?