(41.) V is for Virtue

(41.) V is for Virtue

(41.) V is for Virtue

Certainly one of the pillars of a Christ-centered school is the role of helping the students to develop a godly conscience. Surrendering to goodness is a gradual process for each of us, so naturally moral education has its share of ups and downs in every school, Christian or not. Is there a straightforward game plan for helping students to develop character?

Plato wrote once that education is simply teaching young people to take pleasure in the right things. Here are some possibilities for schools that want to have a role in moral discernment and character formation:

Capture the Imagination. Read heroic literature, study historic role models of goodness and valor, discuss and debate concepts of virtue and vice, highlight critical thinking in the context of a moral universe;

Learn the Vocabulary. Teach the classical virtues and vices, such as the Theological Virtues of faith, hope and love; the Cardinal Virtues of courage, justice, moderation and prudence; and the Seven Deadly Sins of pride, greed, envy, anger, sloth, lust and gluttony;

Incarnate Goodness. Teachers and administrators need to flesh out what growing in goodness looks like; students are given opportunity to freely choose goodness and develops habits of virtue;

Nurture the Faith. Discipleship and spiritual formation is the key to moral growth, since the Holy Spirit’s job is to form each believer into the likeness of Jesus, including his character.

Hold the Students Accountable. A Grace and Truth model of school culture implies a relationship-based accountability system that is firm, fair, kind, clearly-stated, consistent and redemptive.

In helping the students to develop a godly conscience, hopefully the school is freed upĀ from a muscular Law that would browbeat the students into submission. The mere Law will not change anyone for the better, and will not somehow make anyone “good” at the heart level.