The Virtues Project was founded in Canada in 1991 by Linda Kavelin-Popov, Dr. Dan Popov and John Kavelin. It was honored by the United Nations during the International Year of the Family as a "model global program for families of all cultures".
Virtues are the building blocks of character.
We all have every virtue; it’s just that some are more developed than others. For example, a thief might have under-developed honesty, but they may have lots of determination. Imagine a lawyer without detachment or a police officer without courage.
You might think you lack some of the virtues, but you don’t. You were created with all of the virtues, only in different amounts. To grow virtues in yourself and others, acknowledge them and watch them develop.
Virtues can be over-developed just as they can be under-developed.
For instance, assertiveness is needed to live a productive life, but too much leads to aggression and not enough leads to being passive. It’s important to find the balance for each virtue.
When I was a child, we were either ‘good,’ or ‘bad.’ When we did something that pleased the people around us, they said ‘good’; when we displeased them, we were ‘bad.’
Telling children they are good or bad doesn’t educate them to grow their character, it teaches them to please others. This approach can lower self-esteem because the child won’t understand their character; it is based on other people’s opinions and desires. It also teaches the child to label himself, if a child believes he is bad, he will live up (or down) to this.
Why offer Virtues acknowledgment?
Acknowledging virtues in others, no matter how small, will help people build a positive self-image, empowering them to live life with high values and positive expectations. It may also prevent them from ‘caving-in’ to peer pressure or unhealthy behaviour.
Acknowledging virtues is an opportunity to strengthen a person’s positive self-image.
Each time someone is acknowledged for ‘courtesy’ or ‘mindfulness’ or ‘determination’ or ‘generosity’, that person builds an internal image of who they are.
It is important to acknowledge the virtues that are still growing. For example, if someone is usually outspoken and finds it difficult to wait, when you notice them wait for even a few moments, take that opportunity to point out that in that few moments, they were practising patience. ‘I saw your patience.’ Small moments grow. Children and adults thrive on acknowledgment and will live up to your expectations. At first it may only be a few seconds of demonstrating a virtue, but through acknowledgement, it will grow.
Once a person recognises a virtue, they will be able to call on it when needed.
How to offer virtues acknowledgment
‘Lisa, I want to acknowledge you for helping me with my class today. Thank you’.
Jane, thank you for your gentleness this morning, I was feeling so tired and you helped me’.
Donna, I appreciate how you listen to me without judgement. Thank you’.
‘Andrew I saw you help our friend without being asked. I appreciate your generosity’.
It is important to use the person’s name and name the action that you saw. This helps children and adults understand what the virtue looks like, and how it is demonstrated.
Acknowledging virtues with your self and your children could be the change that creates a brilliant life for you and your family. You can grow your self-esteem and, in turn, praise and support others. It’s never too late to grow your self-esteem and be the person you were born to be. You can learn to believe in yourself and others. You can acknowledge virtues in yourself, your partner, your friends, your parents, and the people around you. Every time you do, you make the world a better place.
It is never too late to become the person you were born to be.
You can acknowledge your virtues and believe in yourself from this moment. You can be loving, nurturing and kind to yourself from today and never stop. Your self-esteem will sprout immediately. There will be challenges, but you will discover your resilience and overcome each obstacle as it arises.
With perseverance, you will learn newer and more exciting ways to help you live the life of your dreams.
You can do it.
Never give up.
Thank you for your love and support in helping to grow self esteem and the positive self image of all people.
Your actions make the world a better place.
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I am a yoga teacher, author and artist.
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