Qualities That Bless

Qualities That Bless

model used for illustrative purposes

A guest post by Sheila Kelly

A friend with a gentle sense of humor recently sent me an email that said: Two of the greatest qualities in life are patience and wisdom.

Below was a picture of a big brown and white dog on the deck of a large log chalet – looking mighty patient and wise – observing a skunk, with tail briskly curled up, casually munching on the kibble in the dog bowl.

Maybe it was photoshopped (who knows these days?) but it made a good point.

The expression on the dog’s face showed clearly that even in the animal kingdom God’s creatures can choose to reject suggestions of impatience, and pay very good attention to wisdom and being a good neighbor.

This email of expressing wisdom and patience reminded me of a friend who was a Christian Science Chaplain and taught a Sunday School class at a girls’ correctional facility. One thing the chaplain invited the girls to do in the class was to make a list – in ink – of all their good qualities. Then she asked them to write in pencil the traits that got them in the facility and to write – in ink – the opposite of that trait.

For example: impatience might be in pencil and patience in ink.

The girls understood, maybe for the first time, that they actually had a choice of which thoughts to have – and to choose to express the good quality and reject the suggestion of the bad trait. Apparently, so many girls began to make good choices it made a noticeable difference – not only in improved harmony in the facility, but also in the healing of relationships with family members.

Then they got to erase the false trait written in pencil, which was no part of their true identity of being created in the image and likeness of God. (Genesis 1:26,27).

Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered the Science of Christ Jesus’ teachings and healings, wrote, “Christian Science commands man to master the propensities, – to hold hatred in abeyance with kindness, to conquer lust with chastity, revenge with charity, and to overcome deceit with honesty. Choke these errors in their early stages, if you would not cherish an army of conspirators against health, happiness, and success.”

The wisdom my friend showed in teaching these girls their true nature through a method they would understand, and the patience to continue teaching until their behavior reflected their God-given nature, makes me even more grateful for these two great qualities in life. Learning of our divine nature and expressing God’s qualities blesses us as well as family, friends, and neighbors.

About the author

Guest We are pleased to present Notes from the Field authors, who are assistant committees and church members in the Southern California region; and Notes from The Mother Church authors, who are Committees from the United States and around the world, as well as the Federal Committee on Publication office.


  1. says

    I love that the negative traits were written in pencil and the positive traits written in ink. The latter are what is permanent and true about God’s children (us) while the former are lies to be erased!

  2. Pamela says

    Thanks Sheila,

    I always found it important as a parent to make that distinction of their ability to choose their thoughts and actions carefully. When my children chose a wrong action they had to write me a paper. If they were disobedient they had to write a paper on “Why I should be obedient” I never had them write why they shouldn’t do something but always why they should do something. It made them think about the reasons we do what is right. I love how your chaplan friend handled this in the correctional facility. This kind of thinking really blesses everyone. Thanks again. This was a really helpful reminder to me to keep my thoughts in the right place at all times.

  3. Judy says

    Very practical idea – one that can be used by any Sunday school teacher, parent, or teacher. Good for us adults too.

  4. Sue says

    Thank you for your article, Sheila. How important to know that we can choose to express good, to express God’s qualities, and not be limited and crippled by their opposites.

  5. says

    What a simple and inspiring idea. I work with adult woman in a County Women’s Jail – and they could use this exercise, too. Their continual struggle is over acquiring a new view of their identity in order to overcome the problems that placed them in jail. For many, it is not their first time in the jail. So practical. Thank you.

  6. Virginia says

    Dear Sheila
    Patience and wisdom. What wonderful qualities to express! Thank you for sharing the idea of being able ” to choose the better part”. Only the good is reall and permanent; the rest is no part of us and can be erased. Again, thanks so much!

  7. Beverly Gibson says

    Thank you for all of your articles. I especially enjoyed this one due to the timeliness. It was an answer to a situation I am working on currently so it came at the perfect time. This happens daily in our study of Christian Science.