Virtues Reflection Cards by Linda Kavelin Popov are available as an app!
Virtues Reflection Card courtesy of The Virtues Project™
I dedicate this issue of A Virtues Moment to my daughter Kate and her husband Scott, who have been using Perseverance and Courage since their twin boys were born very prematurely. They have spent the last 78 days in the hospital as the boys continue to grow and develop into healthy boys.
Sometimes I wonder about the Abundance theories, positive thinking and claims that happiness is ours just for the asking. What about suffering? Is suffering also a part of the human condition? How can we appreciate joy if we haven't experienced sorrow? How can we appreciate abundance if we haven't had periods of financial worry. How do we get through periods of unexpected difficulties, when we are exhausted or under extreme stress? Philosophers, psychologists, religious leaders and deep thinkers have written about this with more wisdom than I, but since it is in my life experience, I wonder how my virtues are developing and growing and needed during these periods of time.
Questions for Reflection:
I'm not kidding when I say the person I am thinking of exemplifies all of these virtues and many more. This person grew up in the housing projects in the Bronx of New York, was diagnosed as diabetic at age 7, gave herself her own insulin shots at age 8 because her mother was afraid to, lost her alcoholic father at age 9, and grew up in poverty, without any role models in higher education or professional careers. Through determination, hard work, self-discipline, purposefully working toward her dream, this woman exemplifies the American Dream.
Who is she?
Virtues in Action
Nowhere are virtues more prominent then when someone dies. David Brooks, in his new book, The Road to Character, talks about Eulogy Virtues and Resume Virtues. This week, I've had the opportunity to remember my mother, who passed away last week at the age of 97, for her "eulogy" virtues. I've been thinking about which virtues I want to speak about at her memorial service with our family. I've also reflected on the virtues I've been able/challenged to develop in my long journey the past seventeen years with Mom, as she and I both aged together. Many of those years I found extremely difficult, as we worked through many mother/daughter issues. I felt overly responsible for many of her choices. She wanted to stay independent as long as possible, often railing and angry about the ravages of age, including hearing loss, macular degeneration and dementia. It was hard for me to balance responsibility as her child who was nearby, with joy and self-care. It was all tied together with love and commitment: love for each other and other family members, and commitment to be helpful and caring the last years of her life. In the end, she died as she lived, on her own terms, as much as possible. Most people called her feisty! And I got to practice patience, acceptance, respect, and loyalty as well as endurance and perseverance, not always gracefully I must admit. But there was always Love.
Virtues Reflection Cards by Linda Kavelin Popov available as an app.
Questions for Reflection:
Virtues in Action
Here's a wonderful example of enthusiasm in action in this teachable moment shared by Brittany, the mother of two young children.
This weekend my girlfriend and her 2 young girls came to play for the day. My girlfriend was frazzled from the morning incidences and arrived showing it. A few minutes into being in our house, the older 7 year old daughter did her apparently typical taunt that she does to her 3 year old sister. Her mother snapped at her, yelled at her in front of all of us and then threatened to leave if she didn't change her behavior. My heart sank for both my friend and her little girl. What could I do? And for the first time, I had a way to help. I said to the little girl, "Sophie, you know what we do when James is having a hard time with his behavior? Here, come with me." We all walked into my office. I explained to her what Virtues are and how she has magnificence inside of her, and sometimes we need a little reminder and all the things we are capable of doing, like interacting with her sister in a way that felt loving to both of them.
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Betsy Lydle Smith publishes a bi-monthly newsletter titled "A Virtues Moment" Sign up NOW!