Speak the Language of the Virtues
Language has great influence to empower or discourage. Self-esteem is built when shaming, blaming language is replaced by calling each other to the virtues. It is applied both when acknowledging or correcting someone. If you fill a home, a school or a workplace with words like lazy, stupid and bad, that is the behavior which follows, but if you use words such as courage, helpfulness, and flexibility, you are empowering those behaviors, whether in a child, an employee or a friend.
Recognize Teachable Moments
This is a way of viewing life as an opportunity for learning, recognizing the tests and challenges as opportunities to hone our virtues. In it is an approach to bring out the best in children and teams — their innate qualities of character.
Set Clear Boundaries
In all relationships - family, friends workplace - clear boundaries based on respect for each person, are a strong preventative of violence and a builder of unity. The authority of the parent/manager should not be in the service of dominance or people-pleasing. Authority is in service to learning. Clear boundaries and clear expectations go together. When they are established in the context of virtues, they empower people to act on the best within them.
Honor the Spirit
This is an approach which involves accessing meaning and purpose by awakening and touching what we hold dear. It is about giving us all, including children, a voice by listening to others stories. It encourages each person to have some routine of reverence or reflection, to honor the awe of life, to value ceremony and personal ritual and to appreciate the expression of the human spirit through the arts. It is powerfully effective with even the most marginalized people and imparts hope where there was no hope.
Offer Spiritual Companioning
This is a skill and an art to be used in families or organizations and by caregivers, leaders or educators in times of grief or celebration to people make moral choices. It involves being deeply present, asking clarifying questions, and drawing out a person’s own truth in a context of virtues.