We’re Talking the “V” Word

Sorry, I couldn’t resist the title. No need to avert your eyes, I’m talking about the other V-word, VIRTUE. While it’s not nearly as provocative as the first word that readily comes to mind, maybe it should be. When I was growing up way back in the… rhymes with shmeventies and shmeighties, I heard absolutely nothing about virtue or virtuous living. It was as if the word had fallen out of favor among prevailing Catholic thought, and yet our own doctor of the church, St. Thomas Aquinas, has owned the discussion since the time of the Greek philosophers. Maybe it was too closely associated with those scary images of nuns whacking kids with rulers. Who knows? But I was blissfully unaware.

When my own kids started being introduced to virtuous living in their Catholic schooling and from the “Book of Virtues” by William Bennett, some ten years ago, one of them asked me directly what virtue meant. I couldn’t answer clearly. All I could muster was, “er… uh… I’m pretty sure honesty is a virtue.” I remember looking up the v-word and thinking, “How do I not know this?”Since then, I can’t get enough of the topic!

The following is a discussion with two members of the team at “Families of Character.” Hear from one dad who found himself facing the reality of his kids losing their faith and how he turned things around. “Families of Character” may not use the word virtue directly, but they are helping parents across the country put it into practice in their homes. We talk about how this organization has created simple resources and plans to help families grow in love and stamp out selfishness, and ultimately, keep them in the faith. If you’ve got kids, it’s a must-listen. Just click on the button below to check out my podcast.

Aristotle said, “A human virtue is one which renders a human act and man himself good.”

What I’ve come to learn over the years is that forming good habits is the key to growing in relationship with others, but more importantly, God. God wants us in relationship with Him and others. As Christian families we are called to draw one another towards heaven, and growing in virtue is the key. For the record, I love the word virtue. I’m happy it seems to be gaining popularity in Christian communities. In some circles unfortunately, it remains kind of a dirty word with negative connotations of prideful piety. Maybe it just needs some new spokespeople who bravely live out virtue in their family lives. Let’s take the v-word back! For more information on the Families of Character resources, go to familiesofcharacter.com.

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