Search Results for: virtues project

The Virtues Project

The Virtues Project

Last weekend my wife and I attended a two-day Virtues Workshop conducted by Valerie Hess and Terry Rahn of Virtues Village.

Terry Rahn

Terry Rahn

Valerie Hess

Valerie Hess

These two ladies are both Master Facilitators in the Virtues Project, a global grass roots effort.  I’ve been impressed with how effectively The Virtues Project challenges soulless materialism and secularism.  These weeds have sprung forth from the toxic soil of corrupt religion, leaving us modern folks who seek a higher path stuck between a rock and a hard place.  You may wish to check out  my prior blog on Virtues for more on the challenges facing society.  Today I’d like to briefly share what my family is doing to engage with and support the Virtues Project.

The Virtues Project provides what we believe to be the best solution to the conundrum described above.  Today’s families need a clear strategy on inoculating against the infections which run rampant in our societies.  Not only is it impossible to implement a quarantine, isolationism creates its own problems.  The Virtues Project provides not only protection, but a means through which we may safely, and with peace of mind, integrate our families into the broader culture.

Franssons Fall 2014 standingHere’s what we’re doing.  We’re hosting an Essential Family Virtues Program in our home again this year.  The workshop has empowered us to accompany the 10 participating families more effectively.  We are also stepping up our focus in other areas of our life on a daily basis.

This morning at breakfast we randomly selected Virtues Cards for each of us in the family.  Zoe grabbed Modesty, Caleb Truthfulness, Angela Thankfulness, and I pulled Excellence.  Each of us read the affirmation on our card out loud and agreed to help each other apply our our selected virtue today, while acknowledging the benefits we will accrue as individuals and as a family.  By nurturing these nascent qualities, we cause the seeds within us to sprout, grow, and bear fruit.  We’ve posted these cards on our fridge.  Now each time we reach for nutrition for our bodies we’ll also be reminded that we must nurture our souls.

And in each blog going forward, I’ll be incorporating a virtue, to provide the focus of excellence I committed to today.  I hope you will join us in the amazing process of planting these high quality seeds into your own soil wherever you live, to start the process of reversing the toxicity that has crept into our local lives.

Please comment, or send an email to Virtues@SOOPLLC.com to share, connect and engage further. The_Virtues_Project_banner_image

 

Virtues – Attributes of God

Virtues – Attributes of God

This blog is a response to recent opposition from within the context of Religion to my support of The Virtues Project.  The reason given was that The Virtues Project tells the lie that people don’t need God to attain virtues. To those active in The Virtues Project, this is absurd, so let’s set the record straight.

The Virtues Project was started by Bahai’s, members of the small, but growing global Religion of which I am a part.  The Founders describe its origin as follows: “Tapping into Dan’s years of research in the world’s sacred traditions, they had an “Aha! Moment”. They discovered that virtues are at the heart of meaning in every culture and belief system, from indigenous oral traditions to the world’s Sacred texts.”

Virtues - Attributes of GodThe Family Virtues Guide published by the founders of The Virtues Project in 1997 is even more direct.  The preface explains that The Virtues Project does “not promote the practices or beliefs of any particular faith”. Yet it equally clearly asserts that “Virtues are described as the qualities of the soul and the attributes of God. They are the means by which we can reflect the image and likeness of the creator.”

So what to do about attacks against a noble effort to assist humanity in the nurturing of the nascent virtues within us all, our heritage as Children of God?  To assist in gathering my thoughts, I pulled a random virtue card for inspiration, and it was Purity’s turn. I’ll quote from the card:

“Purity is living in a state of physical and spiritual health… We free ourselves day by day from unwanted influences… We replace negativity with virtuous practices… Purity gives us a clear conscience and a peaceful soul.” It offers “I act from pure intentions” as an affirmation.

IThe virtue of Purity am  convinced of the purity of intent in the founders and the bulk of those participating in The Virtues Project.  For those who put a relationship with God first and foremost, fully recognizing God as the source of all virtues, there is no doubt that The Virtues Project enables others to draw nearer to God.

This is true regardless of what the distance is at which we find ourselves from God at any given moment.  Which is why leading with virtues is a powerful way to lead people to God. More powerful, I might add, than forcing our conception of God upon others.

I’ll end this Blog with the quote at the end of the card.

“I am thankful fore the gift of Purity.  It gives me a fresh start.”

 

 

 

The Virtue of Teaching Virtues

The Virtue of Teaching Virtues

Teaching Virtues to BabySeven years ago my wife and I were newlyweds living the dream in Southern California.  Then we discovered we were expecting.  Nothing changes your perspective quicker than the responsibility that comes with having created life.

We quickly decided to move to the Midwest.  Southern California may be perfect in many ways, but it wasn’t the right place for us to raise a family.  Despite all my travels, the American Heartland was a completely foreign environment to me, but one familiar to Angela, who was raised in it.  Which almost brings me to the point of this blog.

The world is entering a precarious time, in which religion is increasingly under attack in the West.  Materialism and Secularism have driven this trend for more than a hundred years, but it has rapidly accelerated in recent decades as many conclude that most of the worlds violence and negative tendencies emanate from religion.  This is highly debatable, since despotic rulers seeking to eradicate Religion have destroyed far more lives in the last 100 years than those doing so in the name of Religion.

Nonetheless, an emphasis on the material is like a powerful gravity source pulling at the Western mind.  This force counteracts the spiritual elements of society that traditionally raised our standards by teaching and instilling virtues into our children, and thus our civilization.  We see the effects in all of our institutions today, including business, government, schools and entertainment.Black Hole  What can families do to instill values and foster virtues in their own children, and also extend these into the community and society in general?

We stumbled upon the Global Virtues project through the Baha’i Faith, of which we are members.  This marvelous project has enabled us to create The Essential Family Virtues Program – Madison, which we run out of our home.  Perhaps the most powerful element of the Virtues Project is independence from any specific Religion or Ideology.  All of them claim to aspire to the same high ideals, and the Virtues represent a common language that allows all of them to communicate.

This year we’re focused on Truthfulness, Kindness, Forgiveness, Courage and Service, among others.  While teaching virtues together within our own families, we learn from and about each other at the same time.  This provides instant feedback on the power of the language of Virtues to transcend any perceived differences and create a community able to overcome the forces of materialism pulling us all towards its vortex.

It initially surprised me how quickly others grasp the value of what we’re doing and express an interest to join us.  As we enter our second year we’re finding that lighting our candles together chases away a considerable amount of darkness.  Please send an email to Virtues@SOOPLLC.com if you’d like to discuss lighting a similar candle in your area, wherever you might find yourself.  The language of virtues is universal – no translator needed.

One candle can dispel the darkness

Is Madison Ferguson?

Is Madison Ferguson?

Matt Kenny Tony RobinsonAs a citizen of Madison I’m both saddened and hopeful.  Saddened by the tragic loss of Tony Robinson – a young man whose life was taken by bullets fired by Police Officer Matt Kenny, while he was unarmed.  And saddened by what is brought to mind by the understandable and justified angry reactions of so many citizens who see the similarities between this event and that of Ferguson – which is that there have been uncountable similar events – and much worse – throughout our nation’s history.  But I’m also hopeful because of Madison Police Chief Mike Koval and the way he has approached this tragic shooting. His first act was to express compassion and humility, publicly asking for forgiveness, before all the facts were known.Family Virtues

I’m also hopeful because of the results of the Essential Family Virtues Program which my family has launched in our Southwest part of Madison, collaboratively with parents from the Madison Community Montessori School, and elsewhere, and the Virtues Project / Virtues Village, and others.

I’m encouraged by Mallory Shotwell, our first teacher who was inspired during that first year to launch the Madison Community Discourse, now also in its second year.  She focused on love last year, and this year chose Courage. And I’m excited about the possibility of further collaboration with the East Madison Community Center, Madison Community Discoursewhere we held a virtues workshop, after which they expressed interest in establishing a similar program on the East side of town.

Do these hopeful but tiny initiatives represent unwarranted optimism on my part? Will Madison turn into another Ferguson?

It’s always darkest before dawn. My heart is broken, along with Tony Robinson’s family and the communities within Madison that are most affected. But I’m encouraged and hopeful by the reactions of so many in Madison – those hurt and angry, and those touched who wish to be helpful.  Darkest before DawnAcross various ethnic and economic lines here in Madison I can think of noone who will be reacting with anything but concern and a willingness to strengthen bonds and build bridges, to further the hard work that is necessary to continue the progress made by this great country, going back to the civil war, and beyond. My family and I focus on building a hope of the future into our children, the belief that they can and will make a difference. And that this difference will be in peaceful virtuous cooperation with everyone else with whom we share the planet.

The virtue card I drew to end with was Confidence.  This confirms what I’m trying so ineffectively to convey here, in the wake of tragedy. I’ll let the card speak for me, to conclude the post.

“Confidence is having faith in ourselves and in life… We trust that we have the strength to cope with whatever happens… When we are confident in others, we believe in them, and rely on them… With confidence, we cast off self-limiting beliefs and doubts. We offer our gifts as a worthy contribution. When opportunity comes, we step up to it. We just say ‘yes’.” Children are our future