Virtue of the Month

Children showing stewardship in volunteering to help people with groceries.
Photo: Children showing stewardship through good works

Each month our students focus on a new virtue.

2016 Virtues

  • September: Respect 
  • October: Thankfulness 
  • November: Justice 
  • December: Patience 
  • January: Responsibility 
  • February: Compassion 
  • March: Forgiveness 
  • April: Stewardship 
  • May: Tolerance 
  • June: Honesty

What are Virtues and How Do They Shape Who We Become?

What are virtues?

Virtues can be defined as character strengths which are important for a person as well as a society to function optimally. Great examples of virtues include; honesty, respect, forgiveness, discipline, service and gratitude. People and society as a whole can’t thrive without these virtues because they are the reason we are able to live well together and achieve. 

How Studying Virtues helps Children Grow into People of Good Character?

Studying virtues helps children commit themselves to doing the right thing regardless of the consequences, their urges or desires. Children who study virtues learn how to act according to their values and principles. They learn how to resist destructive behaviours like lying, laziness, etc. which are among the greatest obstacles to real success and happiness. 

Although some people may argue that we are born with character strengths which are then reinforced through good parenting, which is true, it’s important to remember that no one is perfect. Virtues must be cultivated in the lives of children for them to become more prevalent and habitual in their daily lives. When this is done, children are able to take charge of their own lives from a young age redirecting the course of their lives to avenues that bring the greatest fulfillment, peace, and joy. 

Why is it Valuable to Learn, Observe and Practice Virtues?

Life can be summarized as the pursuit of happiness and there is a very strong link between virtues and happiness. According to research studies, 40% of a person’s own happiness is within their own control. Although external factors also contribute to our happiness, virtues help us take charge of our own happiness. 

The reason behind this is simple. Virtues help us avoid undesirable outcomes in life. Research studies indicate that virtues like courage, optimism, discipline, forgiveness help to protect people from violence, substance abuse, mental illness, suicide among many other outcomes that hinder happiness. People who learn and observe virtues have a higher chance of being happy in life. 

Furthermore, virtues don’t just prevent unhappiness. They also promote happiness. According to numerous studies, doing good is linked to feeling good. Research shows that people feel happier when they engage themselves in what we can call ''virtuous activities/goals''. Research links discipline, gratitude and forgiveness among other virtues to increased well-being than taking part in hedonic behaviours like lying, indiscipline and rudeness. 

Learning virtues also gives people a higher meaning and level of satisfaction in life on a daily basis which promotes overall well-being. We live a better and happier life when we learn and practice virtues. Virtues direct our lives to happiness and great satisfaction. 

Learning and practicing virtues is also important because virtues are universally recognized. A person who is virtuous can live in harmony and succeed anywhere in the world. You need virtues to co-exist with others as well as be able to pursue what you want in life. Virtues make it easier to succeed anywhere in the world. A disciplined person has no boundaries. Kindness and forgiveness also win a person favour. A virtuous person is more focused, determined and courageous in life regardless of their location or what life throws at them. Virtuous people also have an easier time getting along with all kinds of people. 

In a nutshell, virtues give people more courage, focus, and determination. Most people know that they need to do to reach their goals but never get there. For instance, we all know we need to be kind to get along with people. We also know we need to be disciplined to succeed in life. So, why do most people feel stuck in life? Well, it’s because we haven’t yet learned and applied virtues consciously and boldly in our lives. 

Why Virtues are Part of Daily Learning in Catholic schools

Besides learning, the Catholic Church gives Catholic Schools the responsibility of cultivating the spirit of charity and freedom in students. Catholic schools are set up to help the youth lead an exemplary life guided by moral virtues. Besides focusing on academic excellence, Catholic Schools focus on shaping students who become agents of change for the good of the society. This is precisely why virtues are part of day-to-day learning in Catholic Schools. 

Summary

Virtues allow people to reach their full potential and live more purposeful lives. When students learn about virtues from an early stage, they are able to achieve great things in life. Virtues allow people to co-exist in harmony. Virtues also allow people to find meaning in life and pursue goals with greater determination, focus, and courage. Learning about virtues and practicing them on a daily basis is the key to abundance and happiness in life. 

Our Lady of Lourdes' students presenting a gift on Secretary Day
Appreciating our school secretary at Our Lady of Lourdes

Initiative Contact: Tina Visintin