Kindness and The Circle of Courage


This past week I’ve been thinking about kindness, and a lot about something called the Circle of Courage,  which is a model of proactive and positive youth development, based on the principles of belonging, mastery, independence and generosity. These principles are the cultural wisdom of tribal peoples, and have been integrated with the developmental research findings of modern youth, and their universal growth needs, within the model.

Each principle of this ancient wisdom is intertwined. Each one responds to, and affects one another, and as a whole.

The Circle of Courage is something I learned about from Larry Bentro, as a Youth Care Worker for over twenty years, with youth at risk. He came to our agency and spoke about the book he’d co-authored, Reclaiming Youth At Risk Our Hope for the Future.

This practical wisdom was geared toward the youth I interacted with every day. It’s really a model to aspire to for living, that can be used by anyone. These principles of belonging/attachment, mastery/achievement, independence/autonomy, generosity/altruism, can directly affect our happiness and have a ripple effect in every area of our lives.

  • Belonging gives us a strong sense of having a supportive community through friends, family, and intimate building relationships.
  • Mastery provides competence and our view of failure is seen as a learning experience.
  • Independence allows for self-sufficiency, self-governance and control of self-behaviour and our lives. We take responsibility for our success or failure.
  • Generousity gives us empathy when we engage in helpful and thoughtful behaviour.
Circle of Courage


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