How Do We Educate Towards Virtue?

virtuesI have suggested in a previous post (Head, Heart, and Hands) that as classical Christian educators we are aiming to produce students of wisdom and virtue. More specifically, I have suggested that we are educating for “re-humanization;” that is, training, teaching, and discipling students to reflect the image of God in which we were created and to which we will one day be glorified.

Classically, seven virtues have stood at the forefront of education and life: Fortitude, Justice, Prudence, Temperance, Faith, Hope, and Love (or, Charity). The first four are called the Four Cardinal Virtues, while the last three are known as the Three Theological Virtues (cf., 1 Cor 13). These virtues serve as a helpful focal point at which to aim in our pursuit of wisdom and virtue.

Yet one of the lasting challenges of education remains that we cannot force a student to be virtuous. Instead, we must hold out virtue before them–in our books, in our classes, in ourselves–and present it as true, good, beautiful, and attainable by the work of the Holy Spirit.

How have you found success in inculcating these virtues in students through education? What books have you found helpful for exploring these virtues? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments, or email me at


Image Credits: Floral Graphics by Alisa Foytik | Image by jessINK

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