Community rallies for grieving family

Guest blog by Shawn Watson, Social Studies Teacher, Eastern Alamance HS

When considering how the six virtues have affected my school, I am led to the story of one of our students from a few years back. This young man was full of life. He always had a smile on his face — just a great kid to be around.

He loved athletics and was a member of our football and lacrosse teams. He was not the most talented player, but he loved being around classmates and coaches.

During his junior year the young man had a severe seizure and became extremely sick. He was in and out of the hospital, but the doctors could not figure out what was wrong. He eventually fell gravely ill and died. During the entire time he and his family never lost their love for our school and community. They were the epitome of dedication.

The bill for their son’s treatments was huge. It was at this time that generosity went in motion. Our school and community set up countless drives and donation centers to raise money for the family. Our students sold wrist bands at ball games, had charity walks, cupcake sales, and so forth.

I am not sure if the family was able to pay the whole debt, but I am sure the efforts of our students helped. That is what generosity is all about. The community rallied around a family that needed help. Generosity is a key virtue.

Humility as Virtue or Vice?

An earlier version of this essay was a Guest Commentary in the Asheville Citizen-Times on April 18, 2006.

At a 2006 town meeting sponsored by the World Affairs Council, North Carolina resident Harry Taylor told President Bush that a leader ought to have “a degree of humility.” He then asked the president to describe things he “maybe should have done differently,” specifically mentioning the telephone surveillance of citizens.

The President did not respond to the humility point, but he said, “I’m not going to apologize for what I did on the terrorist surveillance program. . .”

This exchange on CNN caused me to wonder what Americans think about humility. Do we see it as a virtue or a vice? Do we see it as a virtue for those in low-status positions, and a vice for those with high-status? How would Americans respond to a President who displayed humility?
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