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Gentle Virtues


12/01/2009 - A while back my children were bickering with one another. I looked at them, raised my authoritative eyebrow and said, "Behave".

My command visually echoed back at me. "Behave...behave." Before it reached me, I saw the word split in two, resulting in "be have".

Leaving my children to resolve their own conflict, I snatched up my hefty 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language. I was curious about the root meaning of "behave".

The word turned out to be of Saxon origin. It came from the word "behabban". Believe it or not it translates as "be" and "have"!

What do we want our children to be? What kind of behavior do we want them to model? I believe we want our children to "be" good and to "have" virtue.

While it is tremendous to assist them into a great career and to instruct them wisely so they can have nice thiings, I believe it is even more pertinent to gird them with virtue.

Our society desperately needs positive role models from every field and from every corner of the world. We need our next generation to have a heart for others, not just a drive for their own success.

Thankfully there are some wonderful role models we can show to our children. Florida Gators' quarterback Tim Tebow and the Indianapollis Colt's retired head coach Tony Dungy are fine examples.

They model the alternative to being or looking cool. They show how to be fervently heated with a dream much larger than oneself. They live with passion, compassion and other timeless virtues that help make our world a better place.

Our children are impressionable. They are observing and processing. They too are wondering what to become and are thinking of what they may like to have someday.

We can be influential to them. We can model what to be and model what to have, keeping in mind that actions speak.

Sure, our children need friends their own age, but even more so they need a supportive parent. They need parental guidance, parental correcting and parental encouragement.

In case you are wondering if I got back to my bickering children, I did. The conflict was resolved and I shared a word study with them. Now they know when I say, "Behave", I am actually telling them to "be" good and "have" virtue.

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