If you were asked to define the word virtue, what would you say? Like most of us you would probably stumble and stammer in your attempt to describe a word often forgotten in our modern world. Not only has the word virtue become archaic in contemporary communication, but many virtuous characteristics espoused in former times have also fallen out of favor among popular practice. In our fast-paced, get-ahead society, the word virtue is easily overshadowed by fashionable buzz-words promoting the latest, greatest gadget or fad, but it is these very character-building qualities associated with virtuous living that can lead to personal peace. Amid the clamor and turbulence of schedules and deadlines, of economic worries and stress, and of environmental and equality issues, a commitment to virtue is the path the pursue to find lasting peace.
A virtue is a foundational standard of moral excellence. It requires self-control in thought and action. It involves being disciplined, and controlling appetites and emotions. The word virtue comes from virtus, which is derived from vir, Latin for “manliness.” Cicero, the celebrated Roman statesman and writer, advanced the notion that to have honor every man should live by virtue. When Aristotle encouraged men in the ancient world to live “the virtuous life,” it was really a call to all people. Early Christian traditions established the Cardinal Virtues as prudence, justice, temperance, and courage.
In one form or another, virtues have existed since the beginning of time. Virtues are not culturally bound; all great civilizations throughout time have recognized the need to live by guiding principles. Virtues can be observed in one’s actions. Virtues are timeless, universal, objective, and at work whether or not we understand them or value them.
The 8 Virtues
The 8 Virtues, as defined in the Child of Virtue program, are a hierarchical ordering of character-building virtues leading to personal peace. This self-improvement plan is to help re-establish core societal values and virtues into our daily lives. The Core Virtue is Humility because this characteristic ensures teach-ability; it provides the motivation needed to venture onward. Courage, Cleanliness, Obedience and Industry are the Foundational Virtues of success, and competence in them is required before the Power Virtues of Integrity and Wisdom can be achieved. The keystone of the process is the Sustaining Virtue of Gratitude. Gratitude strengthens Humility and ensures the cyclical nature of the entire process as Gratitude becomes paramount at each level to sustaining each virtue. The ultimate goal is the attainment of Peace, and this is achieved in a lasting way after mastering and internalizing the 8 Virtues.
The target audience of training in the 8 Virtues is children. In the process of instructing children it is understood that adults will also refresh and internalize the virtues as they teach them. We are all children of virtue, and peace is our purpose. Until a person is committed to living a virtuous life there is a sense of reluctance, hesitancy, and the chance to withdraw, all of which ensures ineffectiveness. It isn’t until the moment one definitely commits to change that destiny takes over. Commit today to improve your state of personal peace by living a virtuous life.