As I watch what’s happening in the world with people and their responses to challenges, I’m once again reminded about the importance of a person’s character. Martin Luther King Junior stated “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.” What is character? We say she has strength of character or he’s a real character but what does that mean? The work I do with children and adults is about growing character with The Virtues Project. Why virtues you may ask, why not values? What one religious, cultural group or socio economic group value, others may not. Virtues are the common elements of character and spiritually valued by all cultures such as caring, respect, responsibility, compassion, unity, honesty etc. These virtues are universally valued by all cultures and religious and non religious sectors. Virtues are inclusive because they can be expressed in different ways. The Virtues Character Project is not about the practices or beliefs of any particular religion or cultural group. It is based on the simple wisdom of the world’s diverse cultures, and religions, and secular thinkers. It is about living by the best within us – courage, honour, justice, kindness and all our innate virtues.
Linda Kavelin Popov one of the writers of The Virtues Project has stated that the strategies of this project works from birth to death, and that “you have to live it to give it!” Having left the Education Sector I continue to use the five strategies with children and adults. These strategies are not about blame and shame that many of us were subjected to, but work on acknowledging strength virtues to develop a social and moral conscience that ensures our moral compass points north!
Never before in the history of the world do we need leaders of ‘good character!’I have found the 5 strategies easy to remember and to integrate into my life. The strategy that ‘hooked’ me in to this project was “Honouring the Spirit”, honouring your spirit, others and the Great Spirit! It resonated with me in that I believe we are all here on this planet for a purpose. We are all connected to a source of energy and therefore each person must be respected and their spirit honoured. I am interested in transformational leaders around the world who understand the difference between power over and power with. They understand this strategy of honouring the spirit, as their knowledge of self feels beneath no-one, but is humble and feels superior to no-one, recognising that everyone is the same self in different guises.
In my next blog I will unpack the 5 strategies of this Character Development Project. For now I continue to watch leaders on social media for virtues of compassion, commitment, humility, integrity, trustworthiness, truthfulness, courage, cooperation, and unity.