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.

Virtues

Red Ribbon Week

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

Week 30: Mercy

Blessed are those who show mercy; mercy shall be shown to them.” Matthew 5:7

Justice is giving people what they deserve. Mercy is giving people more than they deserve. It is a quality of the heart. When you are merciful, you treat others with compassion and forgiveness. You are willing to forgive when you have been hurt. God is very merciful to us. He gives us many blessings and chances to learn from our mistakes. God always grants his forgiveness when we ask for it.

Mercy also means you feel for someone who is suffering and do something to help him or her. A mercy is a blessing. Instead of reserving our love and kindness for those who we feel deserve it or we feel have earned it, we simply treat each other with love. Mercy brings a gentleness that makes us feel safe with one another.

This Sunday, April 23, is Divine Mercy Sunday. Some of your children will be doing projects to help prepare for this special day!

The message of The Divine Mercy is simple. It is that God loves us — all of us. And, he wants us to recognize that His mercy is greater than our sins, so that we will call upon Him with trust, receive His mercy, and let it flow through us to others. Thus, all will come to share His joy. 

The Divine Mercy message is one we can call to mind simply by remembering ABC: 



A – Ask for His Mercy. God wants us to approach Him in prayer constantly, repenting of our sins and asking Him to pour His mercy out upon us and upon the whole world. 



B – Be merciful. God wants us to receive His mercy and let it flow through us to others. He wants us to extend love and forgiveness to others just as He does to us. 



C – Completely trust in Jesus. God wants us to know that the graces of His mercy are dependent upon our trust. The more we trust in Jesus, the more we will receive

 

Save the date! Wednesday, April 5th: Happy International Calm Day! If you haven’t taken the opportunity to check out calm.com, they are unlocking all of their premium content this Wednesday. Your children have practice with several “Calm Kids” mindfulness practices – many enjoy them. My favorite endorsement is from a fourth grade boy who burst out with, “This helps me so much!” and put his head down as soon as the site came up on the projector. The children who don’t enjoy the activity as much and have trouble finding the quiet/peace/calm are often the ones who actually need the activity the most – the people who have loud minds and very active bodies. They don’t enjoy it because it is difficult (and don’t we all know how difficult it can be to just BE STILL in mind and body sometimes?). There are also some excellent “Sleep Stories” to help children and adults settle down for sleep, as well as multiple meditations and mindfulness strategies for a variety of situations. 

Take a look at some of these Lent activities from Catholic Icing to get some ideas. She updates her ideas frequently, so check back.

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 

 

The fifth graders are also working through the “Super You” program. They began designing their own Super Hero personas complete with tricked out costumes and a fabulous tool kit. Our Fifth Grade Super-Selves will use their new tools (their virtues) to become the very best version of themselves. They will practice team building by joining in Heroic Alliances to help support them as they make the transition from elementary to middle school.

  • “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?