Life is a Revelation…be encouraged

Virtues…I Think

Recently I’ve given a lot of thought to what our society and culture holds in esteem. I’ve written several posts about how we now accept lying as part of our daily living. From the traditional used car sales person huckstering for every additional warranty and  loan percentage they can get to the added procedures ordered by doctors, to the average sales clerk in Barnes & Nobles who has been trained to focus on add-on sales. I have written about how and why we need to return to truth. But there are other aspects I’ve neglected. I’ve been wondering in this digitized age what has become of virtues? I have wanted to write a post about virtues for some time now, but I’ve run into a riddle wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma, cloaked in a conundrum.

Everyone has their own view of what is a virtue. Such as;

  • Four Cardinal Virtues, as illustrated above, left to right – Temperance, Prudence, Fortitude, and Justice.
  • Nine Noble Virtues – Courage, Truth, Honor, Fidelity, Discipline, Hospitality, Self Reliance, Industriousness, and Perseverance.
  • Five Biblical Virtues – Compassion, Kindness, Humility, Gentleness, and Patience.
  • Seven Wisdom Virtues – Chastity, Temperance, Charity, Diligence, Patience, Kindness, and Humility.
  • Ben Franklin had thirteen – Temperance, Silence, Order, Resolution, Frugality, Industry, Sincerity, Justice, Moderation, Cleanliness, Tranquility, Chastity, Humility.
  • Seth Godin’ s new book Wisdom, Inc. says there are 26, but here are the first 10 – Attention To Detail, Balanced Lifestyle, Fearlessness, Grace Under Pressure, Hard Work, Initiative, Persistence, Intelligence, Responsibility, Self Motivation. 
  • tries to cover all the bases with – Acceptance, Accountability, Ambition, Assertiveness, Beauty, Benevolence, Bravery, Caring, Charity, Chastity, Caution, Cleanliness, Commitment, Compassion, Confidence, Consideration, Contentment, Cooperation, Courage, Courtesy, Creativity, Curiosity, Defiance, Dependability, Detachment, Determination, Devotion, Diligence, Discernment, Discretion, Discipline, Eloquence, Empathy, Enthusiasm, Excellence, Faith, Faithfulness, Flexibility, Focus, Forbearance, Forgiveness, Fortitude, Friendliness, Frugality, Generosity, Gentleness, Grace, Gratitude, Helpfulness, Honesty, Honor, Hope, Humbleness, Humility, Humor, Idealism, Integrity, Impartiality, Industry, Innocence, Joyfulness, Justice, Kindness, Knowledge, Liberality,Love, Loyalty, Magnanimity, Majesty, Meekness, Mercy, Moderation, Modesty, Obedience, Openness, Orderliness, Patience, Peace, Perseverance, Persistence, Piety, Prudence, Punctuality, Purity, Purposefulness, Reliability, Resoluteness, Respect, Responsibility, Restraint, Reverence, Righteousness, Selflessness, Self Sacrifice, Service, Sensitivity, Silence, Simplicity, Sincerity, Sobriety, Spontaneity, Steadfastness, Strength, Tact, Temperance, Thankfulness, Thrift, Tolerance, Toughness, Tranquility, Trust, Trustworthiness, Truthfulness, Understanding, Unity, Vitality, Wisdom, Wonder, Zeal.

Everybody from Aristotle to the conservative pundit William Bennett, to internet guru Seth Godin, to the local pastor I have breakfast with occasionally has had their idea of what is and in some cases, what isn’t a virtue.  If you Google search “virtues” you find 6,790,000 results. Not bad, certainly enough reading to keep one occupied at the pool for the summer.

Every virtue listed is a good one. If I could nail even one, I could die a happy man. In the face of this deluge of virtues I am going to pick out one a week  from and write a post about it. It will be published each Monday…think of it as setting the internal compass for the week. I’ll go in alphabetic order so you will know what is coming. BTW…if you counted…or if you care…there are 119.

Along the way, swamp my in-box with comments. I am anxious to know what you think.

Be encouraged!

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16 thoughts on “Virtues…I Think

  1. How lovely can’t wait. I think these would be mine; Faith, Divine Nature, Individual Worth, Knowledge, Choice and Accountability, Good Works, Integrity and Virtue.

  2. Great idea. This should be fun!

  3. free penny press on said:

    For me..from your list i think Integrity is all encompassing.. when one holds integrity if high regard, the rest seem to follow..Looking forward to your weekly posts 🙂

    • Integrity does seem to be the arc from which everything else dangles from…but I can tell you this has been torture to write…I have lots of work to do in my life…I am scared to death to wake up some morning and see the head lines of our local newspaper proclaiming, “Virtue Man’s Many Flaws Revealed.” 🙂

      Be encouraged!

  4. I hadn’t really thought about the variety of opinions on which virtues are the most important in life . Excellent that you will be doing a weekly post on virture!

    Interestingly, this week, I was given an exercise where you pick the top 3 to 6 values that define your higher self. This isn’t the same as virtue, but for me they’re similar, and I had a hard time limiting them. I ended up with – adventure, love, kindness, peace, wisdom and compassion, but there are so many more that are important too.

    Given your motto, be encouraged, I am hoping to see at least one post on that one. 🙂

    Look forward to your Monday posts!

    • Hi Karen, Yes it has been interesting as I’ve delved into this how the meaning of words have blurred…values, virtues, principles, morals, standards, ethics, tenets…and everybody has an idea.

      I spent all the hours of one very late night and early morning thinking through and writing the first post. I was amazed at how much I had to work through…so yes I too look forward to each Monday morning post.

      Have a great weekend.

      BTW…thanks for your post from Sabhakar Das. His thoughts on first sentences were priceless.

      Be encouraged!

  5. Virtues are great, the secret is not to become self righteous when we think we are virtuous. We do the best we can, sometimes we are good, sometimes we aren’t, but we always try. With true virtue comes humility and modesty.

    • Let me tell you…as I struggled through writing about the first virtue, which is acceptance…I quickly realized I am going to be spending many long hours looking into the proverbial mirror and asking, “So Steve, are you going to try to live up to this or not?”

      The first piece took most of the hours of one night and early morning to compose…as I finally crawled into bed as daylight was breaking over the hill out back, I heard my wife murmur, “One down, one hundred and eighteen more to go…are you going to make it?” But before I could request her prayers, she was already back to sleep.

      So Russell…if you are a prayin’ man…you might want to include me from time to time.

      Hey thanks for the taking the time to comment. While I have answered with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek, which is my nature, I do think you bring up an important point. Having been around Christ’s church for a couple of decades now, I have seen a more than a few well-intentioned pastors stumble when they began to think the rules no longer applied to them and they had become the shining example of what they preached. So thank you for the heads-up. My greatest gift in combating the dangers you allude to is my wife Susie…she can sniff out a pompous attitude before I can even form the words…I’m telling you, she is good.

      Be encouraged!

      • I have to ask a question. what is your motivation for writing. I’m asking this from the point of view of an ex military psychologist. Consider it a gentle interrogation 🙂 I enjoy what you write but motivations are my main interest.

      • Hey Russell, If you get a chance read my “About” page…it will shed some light on my motivation. But to give you answer now…I believe virtues are some of those things we are starting to hear, live, and experience less and less in this world. If you were to look back at the motivation industry as it existed around the the early 1900’s you would find most of the principles espoused at that time where directed inward (e.g., you need to train your mind, control your emotions, have a healthy outlook, etc…). Somewhere around the 1950’s however, there begins to be subtle shift in where the focus is external(e.g., be innovative, creative, inspiring, etc…).

        I guess what I am interested in doing is poking the stick (at myself first as I write) but also at others. To get us to think about the type of people we are and what motivates us?…what are our values?…how do we become these things as opposed to just talking about it? That is where the real work lies. In actually incorporating into our lives virtues.

        If I can get just one parent to turn off the TV, pick up their child from the floor, and begin to interact with them…then mission accomplished.

        I was what is popularly called a “loser.” I was the one people just didn’t think was going to make it in society. In fact, at one point, a friend and I were driving somewhere, when he pulled the car over, shut off the engine, looked at me and asked, “Now no shit man, don’t you think it would have been better for all of us, if you had never been born?” Questions like that will get your attention…so I guess the bottom line is…it is payback time.

        Be encouraged!

      • Thanks Stephen, it is late in the evening here in Switzerland and I want to give some consideration to what you said. this weekend. First impression is that you are looking for some catharsis. From what I have read you are a good man plagued by his past. None of us can change the past, the past happened and we get on with it, the future is, the future. So we live in the now and be the best we can be now. God is the judge of hearts, not us.

      • I’m not sure plagued is such a good word to describe my inner motivation. There is no doubt my past makes up part of who I am, but it does not dictate who I am. I think the love which has been shown to me by my wife and others is more the driving force more than anything else. Once you love yourself, then it is only natural to want to love others. Part of loving others is not wanting to see them hurt. Most of those I deal with have no where near the same amount of past personal drama. They are just folks who want to get from Point A (where they are currently in life) to Point B (where they want to be in life). And that is a good thing.

        Have a great night in Switzerland and I look forward to future discussions.

        Be encouraged!

  6. Consider your followers warned! A virtuous start! 🙂

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