Common to people of all cultures, ethnicities and beliefs, virtues are the goodness intrinsic to every human being, or what anthropologists call “humanity’s hard-wired altruism.” When children (and grownups!) understand and choose virtues they activate an inner compass that guides them when faced with decisions between right and wrong, good from bad, or when they find themselves lost or confused.
VIRTUES EMPOWER YOUTH TO:
- Overcome adversity and achieve their goals and dreams
- Rise above negative influences to stay healthy and wholesome
- Be honest and trustworthy people in an often dishonest and deceitful world
There are over 100 virtues—the following are 52 of the essentials.
Definitions courtesy of The Virtues Project.
Assertiveness: Telling the truth about what is right, setting clear boundaries. MORE >
Caring: Giving love and attention to the people and things that matter to us. Listening with compassion and helping with kindness. When we care about what we are doing we give it our best effort. MORE >
Cleanliness: Keeping our bodies, our thoughts and our spaces clean. An environment of order and beauty brings peace to our souls.
Compassion: Deep empathy for the suffering of others. Compassion flows freely from the heart when we let go of judgments and seek to understand. MORE >
Confidence: A sense of assurance that comes from having faith in ourselves and in life. Confidence allows us to trust that we have the strength to cope with whatever happens. MORE >
Consideration: Giving careful thought to the needs of others. Holding a decision in a contemplative and thoughtful way. MORE >
Courtesy: Treating others with kindness, tact and graciousness. MORE >
Courage: Transforms fear into determination. Embracing life fully, without holding back, doing what must be done even when it is difficult or risky. MORE >
Creativity: The power of imagination. Being open to inspiration, which ignites our originality. MORE >
Detachment: Experiencing our feelings without allowing them to control us. Stepping back and thoughtfully choosing how we will act rather than just reacting. MORE >
Determination: The power of intent that drives our dreams. Persevering until we meet our goals.
Enthusiasm: Being filled with spirit. Excitement about life and openness to the wonders each day holds. Acting wholeheartedly, with zeal and eagerness, holding nothing back. MORE >
Excellence: Giving our best to any task we do and any relationship we have. MORE >
Faithfulness: Loyalty to our beliefs, regardless of what happens. Being true to the people we love.
Flexibility: The ability to adapt and change amid the fluctuating circumstances of life. Going with the flow. MORE >
Forgiveness: Overlooking mistakes, and being willing to move forward with a clean slate. Forgiving others frees us from resentment. Forgiving ourselves is part of positive change. MORE >
Friendliness: A spiritual essential. Reaching out to others with warmth and caring. The willingness to be an intimate companion. MORE >
Generosity: Giving fully, sharing freely. Trust that there is plenty for everyone. MORE >
Gentleness: Moving wisely, touching softly, speaking quietly and thinking kindly.
Helpfulness: Doing useful things that make a difference to others. Taking time for thoughtfulness. MORE>
Honesty: Being truthful, sincere, open, and genuine. The confidence to be ourselves. MORE>
Honor: Living with a sense of respect for what we know is right. Living up to the virtues of our character. Keeping our agreements with integrity.
Humility: Being open to every lesson life brings, trusting that our mistakes are often our best teachers. Being thankful for our gifts instead of boastful. MORE >
Idealism: Caring about what is right and meaningful in life. Daring to have big dreams and then acting as if they are possible. MORE >
Joyfulness: An inner wellspring of peace and happiness. Enjoying the richness of life. Finding humor, even in the midst of hard times. MORE >
Justice: Being fair in all we do. Making amends when we have hurt or wronged others. Protecting everyone’s rights, including our own. MORE >
Kindness: Showing compassion. Giving tender attention in ways that brings others happiness. MORE >
Love: The connection between one heart and another. Attraction, affection and caring for a person, a place, an idea, and for life itself. MORE >
Loyalty: Unwavering faithfulness and commitment to people and ideas we care about, through good times and bad. MORE >
Mercy: Blessing others with our compassion and forgiveness. Extending our tenderness beyond what is just or deserved. MORE >
Moderation: Being content with enough. Using self-discipline to create balance in our lives and to keep from overdoing. Healthy stewardship of our time and resources. MORE >
Modesty: Self-respect and quiet confidence. Accepting praise with humility and gratitude. A sense of respectful privacy about our bodies. MORE >
Obedience: Following what we know is right. Compliance with the law. Abiding by our deepest integrity and conquering our misplaced passions. MORE >
Orderliness: Creating an environment of peace and order. Planning step by step instead of going in circles. MORE >
Patience: Patience is quiet hope and expectation based on trust that, in the end, everything will be all right. MORE >
Peacefulness: Inner calm and tranquility. Giving up the love of power for the power of love. Resolving conflict in a just and gentle way. MORE >
Purposefulness: Awareness of the meaningfulness of our lives. Living by a clear vision and focusing our energy on the goal before us. MORE >
Reliability: Being dependable. Being a promise keeper. Taking responsibility with trustworthiness. MORE >
Respect: An attitude of honoring oneself and others through our words and actions. Treating every person with dignity and courtesy. MORE >
Responsibility: The willingness to be accountable for our choices and also for our mistakes. Taking on what is ours to do with strength and reliability. MORE >
Reverence: An awareness of the sacredness of life. Living with wonder and faith. Having a routine of reflection. MORE >
Self-Discipline: The self-control to do only what we truly choose to do, without being blown off course by our desires. Establishing healthy and ennobling habits. MORE >
Service: Doing helpful things that make a difference to others. Investing excellence in everything we do. The contribution we make is the fruitage of our lives. MORE >
Steadfastness: Being steady, persevering and dependable. Having the strength to remain true to our purpose in spite of obstacles that arise. MORE >
Tact: Telling the truth kindly. Thinking before we speak, aware of how deeply our words affect others. Discerning what to say, when it is timely to say it, and what is better left unsaid. MORE>
Thankfulness: An attitude of gratitude for living, learning, loving and being. Generosity in expressing appreciation. Focusing on the blessings in our lives. MORE >
Tolerance: Being open to differences. Refraining from judgments. Patience and forgiveness with others and ourselves. Accepting things that we wish were different with humor and grace. MORE >
Trustworthiness: Being worthy of the trust others place in us. When we give our word, we stand by it. Keeping our agreements faithfully. MORE >
Truthfulness: Truth is the bedrock of integrity on which we build all our other virtues. An ongoing commitment to live by what is most real and authentic in our own nature. Honesty in all our dealings. MORE >
Unity: Inclusiveness. Finding common ground in our diversity. Seeking peace in all circumstances. MORE >
Zeal: Fervent enthusiasm for what we believe to be important. Living by a strong sense of the value of life and faith.
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For more information contact Scott Feraco.