Our Virtues Program

Virtues are described as the qualities of the soul and the attributes of God. They are the means by which we are able to reflect His image and likeness. OLW’s Virtues Program is designed to create a Culture of Character by making OLW a positive, empowering environment in which children are living and growing. We are working together to establish a total environment of caring and respect.

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“Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.”           – Helen Keller

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Virtues team building activity.

Each week your child will be exposed to a different virtue. During that time, we will do an age appropriate activity to help reinforce the practice of the virtue. Your child will also be given a weekly reminder of what the “Signs of Success” are for that week’s virtue. On this page, you will find a Home Connection to help you speak the Language of Virtues at home. I hope you enjoy this exciting journey with your Our Lady of the Wayside Family!

Working together in Virtues class.

Working together in Virtues class.








Virtue of the Week

This Week in Virtues

Week 18: “My One Word”

Proverbs 18:4 “A person’s words can be life-giving water; words of true wisdom are as refreshing as a bubbling brook.”

We will be continuing our launch as we take on the challenge of “My One Word.” Each child will finish the self-reflection & prayer required to choose one word that resonates with him/her. The philosophy behind “One Word” is that this word represents what we have faith God will grow in us and make visible in our lives to help form our character in a deep, sustainable way. By creating art to keep our word in a place where we can see it daily – and to spark memory, we will be able to bring focus and clarity to our efforts for the coming year. Prayer will enable us to truly listen for God’s voice and understand what God is trying to teach us. For example, “happiness” as our focus word does not mean we will have an easy year full of parties; it may mean that God is challenging us to find the joy despite some difficult circumstances. It may mean that God will ask us to overcome personal obstacles keeping us from finding our happiness. If you would like to learn more behind this idea, check out My One Word by Mike Ashcroft – and take on the challenge of growing in God this year!

Follow us on Twitter @olwvirtues

Virtues Education

Our Virtues theme for 2017-18: exploring and regulating our emotions to get to the truth of the stories we tell ourselves. When we take the time to notice when we are in strong emotion, get curious about where this emotion comes from, identify the story we are telling ourselves about where the emotion comes from, fact check the veracity of the story – and get the information we need (is that person REALLY angry with us, or did we just interpret that from the look they gave us?) – we are able to come to the truth of what is happening. When we live from a place of truth, we are able to best live our virtues from a place of integrity instead of just looking like we live them from the things we say. To paraphrase Brene Brown, we will teach our children shame resilience and to rise strong when they encounter difficult circumstances. This is truly the only way to stay out of judgment for ourselves, each other, and to reflect the very best of ourselves best to God.

Stress is one of the things that sometimes gets in the way of living our virtues. Stress affects us and our kids. Children as young as PK report feeling stressed & even first graders can describe the effect stress has on them. Our infants respond to our stress/agitation – did you ever notice the second you hand a crying infant to another adult s/he settles? It’s because that person isn’t upset about the fact that the baby just won’t stop crying… seems unfair, right? I have a couple of articles from a series the Huffington Post ran about how to destress our parenting and our kids. If you enjoy the articles, you can go from these links to find the rest of the series.

Stress Free Parenting – Stress Free Mornings

Destress Your Kids

If you are interested in helping your child(ren) find a sense of inner peace/calm through meditation/mindfulness, Calm has just launched a program called “Calm Kids” which contains meditation/calming scripts designed for children. Calm can be accessed through your computer and as an app to help bring down anxiety when you are away from home. www.calm.com 

  • “Parents think they can hand children permanent confidence—like a gift—by praising their brains and talent. It doesn’t work, and in fact has the opposite effect. It makes children doubt themselves as soon as anything is hard or anything goes wrong. If parents want to give their children a gift, the best thing they can do is to teach their children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning. That way, their children don’t have to be slaves of praise. They will have a lifelong way to build and repair their own confidence.”

Carol S. Dweck, Mindset

If you are interested in learning more about the growth mindset and perseverance, The Huffington Post published an article on Growth Mindset Parenting.


The Five Virtues Strategies


  • Speak the Language of Virtues
    • Language has the power to discourage or inspire. Using virtues to acknowledge, guide, correct, and thank awakens the best within us. It honors the dignity of every person.
  • Recognize Teachable Moments
    • Recognizing the virtues needed in daily challenges helps us to become life-long learners open to the lessons of character. We view our tests as opportunities for spiritual growth.
  • Set Clear Boundaries
    • Setting boundaries based on restorative justice help to create a peaceful climate of cooperation in our homes, schools, and workplaces. They protect our time, energy, and health.
  • Honor the Spirit
    • Integrating virtues into our activities, surroundings, celebrations, and the arts helps us to sustain our vision and purpose. We have a daily routine of reverence to pray, reflect, and serve.
  • Offer Spiritual Companioning
    • Being deeply present and listening with compassionate curiosity guides others to find clarity and to create their own solutions. It supports healing and growth.

~Parents are the primary educators of the child.
~Children are born in potential.
~Character develops as children learn to make responsible, moral choices.

The Practice of Unity

“… striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace: one body and one Spirit…”

Ephesians 4: 3-4

We at OLW strive to live as one family under God – one school, one parish, one community. Living this way allows us to practice all of our virtues as a way of life. We work to reflect the best of ourselves back to God and bring our best selves to each other each day. We begin and end each year with the virtue of Unity to remind us of our connection to one another. We are linked. Our actions affect each other, and we support each other to solve problems.

Unity is a powerful virtue that brings about strength. It is a way of seeing the universe as one, designed by God, who created us all. When we practice Unity, we allow ourselves to feel connected to everything and everyone.

Unity brings harmony – like the sounds of different instruments in an orchestra. We are not all the same – each of us has our own special part to play. Without the practice of Unity, we can allow differences to drive us apart.

Unity brings about peace. We don’t try to make everyone look, think, act, or talk alike. This allows us to solve conflict. We can take the time to discover a new solution that meets everyone’s needs. Life is not a competition – the solution is not a “win.” We learn to allocate resources so everyone gets what they need (maybe not what they want…). Unity allows us to become peacemakers wherever we go.

God loves diversity. It makes life interesting! Unity within a family doesn’t mean everyone acts or feels the same. When problems arise, a family comes together to listen carefully, with full attention, to each person. Blame is avoided. Blame is never a useful place to begin a dialog. Everyone is allowed to share ideas and feelings – this means even your younger children. It also means everyone puts away those “divisive devices” – no phones/tablets/computers even in sight. They are a constant reminder that someone/something somewhere else is more important (or more interesting, possibly?) than the people in front of you. When everyone shares within a circle of trust, the results are life-changing – wonderful/joyous (in time). Each person in the family feels heard, special, and connected. The joy of one is the joy of all. The hurt of one is the hurt of all. The honor of one is the honor of all.

What does unity look like in your family?