“One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.” Maya Angelou
|Lust (excessive sexual appetites)||Chastity (purity)|
|Gluttony (over-indulgence)||Temperance (self-restraint)|
|Greed (avarice)||Charity (giving)|
|Sloth (laziness/idleness)||Diligence (zeal/integrity/Labor)|
|Wrath (anger)||Forgiveness (composure)|
|Envy (jealousy)||Kindness (admiration)|
|Pride (vanity)||Humility (humbleness)|
Long before the Bible was penned, mankind knew the difference between right and wrong. It was a natural part of the human condition, instilled within the conscience. Over the centuries, we’ve seen a decline in the use of the sevens (charted above) for examples of living a moral life. They still bear importance today. We may think humility has been lost, because of the rewards and awards handed out for simply participating. We might believe that chastity is all but dead, due permissiveness and excessive sexual appetites. The truth is, virtue lives on – even when it appears that everything is upside down.
What’s a parent to do when society tells young people to live life to the fullest, without restriction? I believe this kind of thing is cyclical and we’re coming to the end of the cycle. Looking back through history, we can see this rotation. A civilization shifts from one end of the spectrum to the other – in search of happiness – following the trends of the times – thinking they have it all figured out. Then the pendulum swings again and things which were once considered improper have become the norm.
In the early 1900s, the Victorian Age boasted itself as the most virtuous ever. In the 1920, with prohibition and the forging of the Industrial Revolution, we saw a loosening of moral behavior – speak easies – trafficking booze and prostitution – back street abortions – money in abundance, until the infamous crash of 1929. In the 1930’s people struggled to find jobs to put food on the table. They often went to bed hungry, depressed, exhausted and downtrodden. By the end of the decade, we were involved in a war, but patriotism existed everywhere.
Society is like that. We fluctuate from one generation to the next. The older generation tends to feel the younger is going to hell in a hand basket. The youngers feel that seniors are useless old fuddy duddys. Through it all, we’ve inherited that inner voice which tells us the difference between right and wrong.
As mothers, it might be time to review the chart above and start talking and listening to our youth. They are never too young to learn – nor are we too old. I personally believe in the younger generation. They’re a sensitive lot. They’re a strong body committed to change. They’re leaders. They want to learn, do and make a difference. They also have the knowledge of the world at their fingertips!
Does virtue stand a chance in the twenty first century? Yes, but it must be nurtured. Part of being a good parent is providing your children the courage to remain strong in their beliefs. Teach them to treat others as they’d like to be treated – help others – be selfless rather than selfish – kind, courageous, self restrained, humble and forgiving. ,They need to be taught to take responsibility for their actions and stop blaming others. They must also learn to value life – at the beginning and end of it.
These tools will build their character and define the kind of adult they’ll become. Our children are the future of the nation. It’s our job to prepare them for that vocation.