Everybody Knows the Six Virtues

One way to define what it means to be educated is to think about the people we want for companions. We want to be with people who are understanding, imaginative, strong, courageous, humble and generous; and we avoid people who are ignorant, unimaginative, weak, fearful, proud and selfish.

So, why don’t educators teach the six virtues of the educated person? We are literally caught in a “vicious cycle.”

The good news is that school personnel model and teach three virtues — understanding, strong character and generosity.  The bad news is they also teach three vices — intellectual incompetence, fear, and pride. Therefore, even our best graduates demonstrate understanding that is unimaginative, strong character that is fearful of truth, and generosity that emerges from pride.

That is why the six-virtue definition of the educated person is so important. Only when all six are modeled and taught can the cycle be broken.

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