Never before in the history of western civilization has a generation of children been subjected to such an avalanche of vulgarity, violence, drug use, alcohol abuse, and sexual promiscuity. Millions of our children are living in situations where their emotional and social needs are not being met.
Our kids are feeding their minds daily out of post-modern media’s “garbage can” of content. No wonder so many of them are sick. We are losing the battle to maintain what little moral character we have left. Every parent, teacher, coach, pastor, administrator, business leader and politician in this country knows that this is happening, but we struggle to find the right tools to counteract this trend. Virtue is the solution to our recovery as a society.
Virtue is a universal good. Virtue is an admirable quality. Virtue is whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is worthy of praise. A virtue is a habitual and firm disposition to do that which is good. Virtues can govern our actions, order our passions, and guide our conduct. The practice of virtue leads to self-mastery, and the joy of leading a morally good life. Virtue can be grown through education, deliberate acts, following virtuous examples set by others, and by persevering in struggle.
Character Education is a keystone element in our recovery as a society and is most effective when it is based on the practice of virtue. Through virtuous acts we can build the trust which lies at the heart of human relationships, whether on the team, in school, at work, church, or at home. This is the pathway down which governmental institutions also have to travel, in order to restore trust.
Virtue is what the vast majority of ordinary American people instinctively want. They want to belong to a world in which people care for one another. They are alienated by our selfish society. At a profound level they care more for quality of life than for the value of property. Yet the structures and values built into the way society works often frustrate that deeper and better instinct. We need to find ways of promoting and practicing our instinctive sense of virtue.
After all, virtue is our humanity.