Monday, February 8, 2010

The Family Virtues Guide - Linda Kavelin Popov

"Virtue is the muscle tone that develops from daily and hourly training of a spiritual warrior." - Tolbert McCarroll

I've had this book for a few years now and I often look at it on the bookshelf and think that I really should pick it up again. Last week I did just that, and decided it was time to make proper use of it.

The Family Virtues Guide was written by Linda Kavelin Popov, the founder of the Virtues Project, whose aim is to empower adults and children to live by their highest values. There have been many books written to help parents understand the best ways to develop their children's physical bodies, emotions and psychological health, but this is the first I have found that endeavours to help parents develop the spiritual needs of their children. It has been used in schools, prisons, corporations, child-care centres, indigenous communities and diverse faith communities in many countries across the globe. It was also honoured by the United Nations Secretariat during the International Year of the Family.

So what is a virtue? The book itself gives the best explanation -

" The Family Virtues Guide is not about family values. Values are culture specific. it is about virtues, which are universally valued by all faiths and cultures in the world. Virtues are the silver thread running through all of humanity's sacred literature as well as the oral traditions of the world's indigenous peoples. Virtues are described as the qualities of the soul and the attributes of God."

Some examples of virtues are - caring, courage, determination, faithfulness, generosity, humility, justice, love, patience, reliability, self-discipline and trust.

The book is based on four key principles:

1. The parent is the primary educator of the child.
2. Children are born in potential: their natural qualities can develop into positive or negative traits depending on how they are educated in the early years.
3. Character develops as children learn to make responsible, moral choices.
4. Self-esteem is a natural outcome of living by spiritual principles.

The first few chapters of the book give us the theory behind the importance of virtues, and how to use the book effectively. It also explains the spiritual nature of children, and gives us in depth guidelines on applications of the principles and practices. The last chapters are about the virtues themselves - one chapter per virtue, with practical exercises and advice.

The first virtue we will experience is assertiveness. I won't be following the book in its entirety, but will use it as a reference to my own teaching. I have some coloured cardboard and will write the 'virtue of the week' on a piece of this and stick it on the fridge. I plan on using dinner time to discuss the meaning the virtue, and to talk to the children about how they can use it in their day to day life. I want it to be fun as well as enlightening for them, and I'm hoping to be able use their own behaviour as examples of the virtues at work. Now is a great time to start, particularly as both the boys are now at school, and at the perfect age to understand. My daughter will learn from watching her brothers at home - they're never too young to begin!

I will be blogging each week about the virtues, so stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. Hi there ..just added a link from blog to you after writing about virtues and teenagers ..did a search on 'The Family Virtues Guide' and you popped up. I have a copy too and use alot.
    Nice blog by the way.