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Virtues in Paradise: The Power of your word

Saturday 6 July 2024 | Written by Supplied | Published in Opinion, Virtues in Paradise

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Many things happen in life that we cannot control. Yet, according to scripture, the main reason we’re here is to master ourselves, to use our free will and self-control to choose writes Linda Kavelin-Popov.

Every time we choose to live by a virtue, it grows stronger within us. I asked the ten-year-olds in my Vaitau School Virtues Club, “How do you practice a virtue?”

The answers were simple yet wise.

 “You just be it.” Another said, “You make yourself.” The virtue of the day was determination. I asked for an example.

She said, “When I’m raking rubbish, I’m determined to finish even if I’m tired. I just make myself.” -- a good example of one of the fruits of the spirit named in Galatians: “Self-control.”

Buddha’ teaches, “Those who make channels for water control the waters; makers of arrows make the arrows straight; carpenters control their timber; and the holy control their souls.”

Virtues are our qualities of the soul, the content of our character. I loved my Sunday school except for one problem. I was embarrassed by one of the teachers. She had a nervous habit of giggling every time she spoke.

On the way home, my brothers taunted me with giggle imitations. One day, my mother said, “I’m going to tell you why Mrs. McComb laughs so much.” She opened a large book to a photos of the visit to our country by one of the central figures of the Baha’i Faith, Abd’ul-Baha.

A large crowd surrounded him, and snuggled up beside him was a child about my age with hair in long ringlets, “Do you know who that is?” mom asked.

“That’s Mrs. M. One day she wrote a letter to Abdu’l-Baha. It said, ‘Beloved Master, why are we here? Love, Ruhiyyih.’ He wrote back to her, ‘Beloved Ruhiyyih, We are here to acquire the virtues of the Kingdom. Love, Abd’ul Baha.’ She is so happy because she knows the secret of life.”

After that I loved hearing Mrs. M’s laughs and giggles, now that I knew her special secret.

One of the strategies for bringing virtues to life is Speaking the Language of Virtues. This means using virtues to acknowledge, correct, and thank others, including children.

 Instead of negatively labeling a child or adult “useless” or “lazy,” use a virtue to say what you do want from them and for them. “You need to be helpful now.

Please be responsible when it’s time to rake the rubbish.” If they do the chore without having to be reminded, acknowledge them for being responsible.

When your words are weighty, weigh your words. What we say to each other, particularly our family, has a great impact on self-esteem and wellbeing. A harsh word to a spouse or child is like a grain of sand in their eye. It hurts and it creates distance. In my observation, islanders enjoy telling each other off. It’s a common practice.

Calling someone to a virtue is more positive and gets better results. “A gentle word turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1) We have every reason to use our spiritual superpowers of self-discipline and other virtues.

“Discipline, to be sure, is never pleasant; at times it seems painful. But afterwards, those who have been trained by it reap the harvest of a peaceful and upright life.” (Hebrews 11)  As a child said, “Just be it.” It will please your Lord and spark joy in your life.

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