Weekly Virtue: Humility Recap and Start Heavenly Virtues, Prudence

My grand goal is for this to be picked up by others, to become a virtual tour. If you’re aware of another blog leading something similar, let me know. I may drop this and join there. If you’d like to join, do so, either in the comments or link to your own blog. If you’d prefer a change in format before joining, let me know. I’m not hugely attached to this format.

In the absence of feedback, I’ll continue as before. A recap of the previous week’s progress, and some preparation for next week. I had hoped to do more research on each virtue and bring in words of wisdom from around the world. That hasn’t happened yet, but baby steps are better than no steps.

This week I concentrated on Humility. In Ben’s words:

Imitate Jesus and Socrates.

The end of the week was good, but the beginning less so. A few times I realized, too late, that I had initiated a conversation, thinking I would cheer someone on, but realized I used it to show I was further along the path than they were. Not good.

I’ve also been very proud of my kids lately, and let them know it. I try to blend it with either “Now you have time to work on a weakness,” or “Now you can help the other members in your group learn it.” Sometimes I just let them enjoy the moment.

Jane commented that humility doesn’t mean denying the gifts you have, and it’s more complex than not bragging about them. It includes using those gifts to help others. I need to work on that. The new secretary at the school is counting the pizza money, so my volunteering schedule is gone. I suppose I could still help in the library. They also need adult reading buddies for at-risk kids, and I feel for those kids, but my heart isn’t calling me to do that. I fear I’d get frustrated or into a rut with it, rather than stay excited. Now is not the time to make schedule decisions, but it’s an option.

You could count storytelling, but it’s minor. The people who benefit most are also those who need it least. I’m one of several at the big guild — valuable, but my role could be filled by several there. I suppose the work I do organizing the local guild and keeping it viable counts — we’re so short of numbers they might fail without me. If the guild didn’t exist, it would be harder for people who want tellers to find the members who don’t advertise. A few of them tell regularly at seniors’ homes, maybe I’ll join them in January.

So, more work is needed on that virtue, both in being humble and in using my gifts generously.

This week starts a slight change in schedule. Wednesday seems a bad day for this, so I’m shifting to Friday.

We’ve finished Ben Franklin’s list of virtues. The next list is the Seven Heavenly Virtues.

It turns out there are two lists of Seven Heavenly Virtues. Shamelessly quoting from Wikipedia:

In Catholic catechism, the seven virtues refers to one of two lists of virtues, most commonly referring to the 4 Cardinal virtues of Prudence, Justice, Restraint or Temperance, and Courage or Fortitude, and the 3 Theological virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love or Charity; these were adopted by the Church Fathers from virtue as defined by the Greek philosophers Plato and Aristotle.

An alternative list is the Seven heavenly virtues, opposed to the Seven deadly sins, and consisting of Chastity, Temperance, Charity, Diligence, Patience, Kindness, and Humility.

So, relying on serendipity, we’ll take the first list first:
Prudence, Justice, Restraint/Temperance, Courage/Fortitude, Faith, Hope, Love, Charity.

Prudence is the exercise of sound judgment, which leads to appropriate actions. It’s the difference between courage and recklessness.

The Greeks considered prudence the father of all virtues.

Between stimulus and response there is a space.
In that space is our power to choose our response.
In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
– Viktor E. Frankl

Every man is wise when attacked by a mad dog; fewer when pursued by a mad woman; only the wisest survive when attacked by a mad notion.
– Robertson Davies

I can’t foresee any specific times where the right decision will be difficult to find and carry through. The kids’ routines are running smoothly, so most of my quick decisions regarding them fall back on “Have you finished your list?” “It takes two to argue,” and “You are trying to get him in trouble — you lose, he gains.”

We’re also in a good run of helping the kids make good decisions. Thanks to the routines, they know what to expect, and part of the routine is checking the calendar. They make informed decisions, which are usually pretty good.

The challenge will be with surprise decisions, but those are hard to prepare for. I plan to pay attention to Frankl’s space and use it wisely.

The other part of the challenge is self-discipline and staying organized — enhancing routines that will be of benefit, in a way that won’t overwhelm me, and not losing my todo lists. This morning I listened to the story I’m learning twice before the podcasts while doing housework. I stayed with the housework until the time was up. Last night I tidied my desk (and found the todo list) rather than vegging. I will run errands this afternoon rather than spend it at home. Small decisions like that add up.


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