Thoughts on Virtues

This past week “Our House” focused on the virtue of ‘generosity.’  As it happened, the week saw a violent death in a tragic, long-lived case of domestic violence.  It was a horrible reminder of how much work we have to do in this world, and it would have been so easy to end up focusing on that barbaric event.  The victim was a friend of mine, so it was especially challenging to return later in the week to ‘generosity.’ 

In a way, though, what transpired was an example of why “Our House” and the “Sunday Morning Reflection Program” on Observer radio focus on virtue.  It is much easier to be fearful or cynical than it is to be builders, and to consciously teach and practice virtues is to build.

Virtues – the attributes of God—are the building blocks of civilization.  In our materialistic societies and in the harsh noise of religious bickering over the outward forms of faiths, we have left the heart of the matter behind, and our present social crises are the result of that neglect.  Virtues run through all cultures, all religions.  They are a common denominator by which, if we were to place them in the forefront of our relationships, we would be guided through the challenges of a rapidly-changing world, and through the self-centeredness of materialism.  Nowadays we rarely even speak the language of these beautiful words: “tolerance,” “compassion,” “trustworthiness.” 

Back to ‘generosity,’ another of those beautiful words.   The week also saw the generosity of sponsors who contribute to young writers’ workshops, of souls so touched by the plight of a sick grandmother that they pledged and donated and worked tirelessly to see that this woman would have a chance to regain health and keep caring for her family.  In such acts we see the promise of real civilization.   Those are the examples we need to keep before us and our children.

That is why the focus of these two radio programs will continue to be on what is good in us, what we must aspire to and seek to practice.  The virtues are not easy – they require careful reflection, effort, wisdom.  But it is vital to renew our commitment to developing these attributes in ourselves and in those who come after us. I hope you will join in this commitment and strive to make the virtues part of our everyday conversations.

Deborah Eckert,

Antigua & Barbuda