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#1.4 – Committing to the plan

Are you ready to commit to practicing the the four stages of virtue education?

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The plan for virtue education that is used in this site is not original. The well-consolidated practices in educating virtue have been represented here in a four stage approach that is easily understood and applied.

#1 – Understand.  This is the first stage, that you should have concluded at this point.  This stage is mostly about theory and helps you understand what virtue education is, how it works, why it is important and where it is rooted.   Adults need to be aware of how they are growing in order to grow, and that is why virtue literacy is the first, essential, step.

You can easily complete this phase in a relatively short time.  But it is a good idea to continue learning about virtue even as you work on the next stages (perhaps choose a good book on virtue to keep on your bedside or work through some key biblical texts on virtue for your devotions over the next few months).

#2 – Test.  Once  you have achieved a basic understanding of virtue education, you are ready to self-assess your character.  A unique Virtue Test has been designed in this site that will allow you to evaluate your character against 13 virtues.

The test itself takes about 20 minutes, and then you will be shown how to interpret your results.   At the end of this stage, you will have a clear idea of one particular virtue that you wish to work on.

#3 – Habituate.  This is the most practical stage and will take the longest.  It is also the stage where it is easiest to give up.

Don’t worry if you are not be familiar with the word ‘habituate’ as explanations will be provided. You will begin by designing a plan to do things that will facilitate growth in you chosen virtue and you will be given some ideas on how to ensure that you complete your plan.  And then… you will carry out your habituation plan for several months.  This will be an incubation period in which your character will slowly change.

#4 – Reflect.  Genuine formation includes reflective practice, and that is what you will do in this fourth stage of virtue education.

At the end of your habituation phase, you will take the Virtue Test again and compare your results.  Hopefully, you should be able to see the desired growth in your chosen virtue.

To consolidate your growth, you will be instructed to write a short reflective essay where you will look back on how you have grown and look forward to consider new areas of virtue education in your life.

Your commitment

Ready? Before you make a commitment, it might be useful to go through this checklist:

  • Do you want to act virtuously? Being a virtuous person starts with desiring the right state of affairs.  Have you thought this through? Do you really want to be move away from vice and be more virtuous?
  • Do you have the right motivation?  It is not sufficient to orient your desires toward virtue, your motivation also needs to be virtuous. Don’t choose virtue for utilitarian or guilt-driven motivations. Rather choose to be virtuous as to flourish as a human being and as an expression of love toward God, neighbour and yourself.
  • Are you willing to be accountable? Virtue education is hard-fought, and you may need to make a covenant in a community to help you as you fight for virtue in your life.
  • Are you available to bear the pain of change?  Educating your character in virtue might involve physical pain  (for example, deriving from physical exercise) or relational pain. Are you willing to pay the cost?
  • And finally, will you be constant? Constancy is a foundational virtue and through it virtue education will either succeed or fail.  In choosing a project of virtue education, do you commit to finish it even if you may get tired, distracted or not see immediate results?

If you’ve said yes to the questions above, then make a commitment in writing. First write it out for yourself. Then, if you are working with a group, share it with others to whom you want to be accountable.

You have now completed phase #1 – Envision, and are ready to move onto phase #2 – Test >  #2.1 – Preparing for the test



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