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Gentle Virtues

Softness with Strength

05/01/2008 - My mom is my dear friend. She is a woman of virtue. My mom is a beautiful blend of softness and strength. While the McGraw-Hill Children's Dictionary defines virtue as "right action or thoughts" and rightly so, by observing my mom, I say virtue is softness with strength.

Noah Webster, in the 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language, used four virtues to describe softness. They are meekness, mildness, gentleness, and kindness. Meekness is "softness of temper". Mildness is "softness of words or voice". Gentleness is "softness of manner" and kindness shows its softness by its "tenderness and goodness of heart". That's my mom.

Softness can be equated with weakness. But when it is a part of virtue, softness is blended with strength. How can we be certain? The word virtue comes from a Latin root word, vireo, meaning "strength".

Strength is having power. Noah Webster saw power as being two-fold. He first saw power as giving us the ability to make changes. For example, we can become less harsh and be more courteous. And secondly, he saw power as giving us the ability to accept change. We can be gracious, patient, and adaptable. This power is evident in my mom.

Virtue shares the same root word with worth. For something to be of worth, it is of "value, importance, usefulness, and excellence". People of virtue are people of excellence. They go beyond what is expected of them. They look beyond themselves and find countless ways they can be useful in the work place and at home.

Thankfully being virtuous is not equated with being perfect. We can all breathe a sigh of relief!

Like my mom, we can be motivated by the most excellent virtue of all, love. When we are motivated by love, we can have softness with strength.

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