by James B. Stenson

As children grow from infancy to adulthood, they need to acquire certain character-strengths: sound judgment, a sense of responsibility, personal courage, and self-mastery. These habits of mind and will and heart have traditionally been called the virtues: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. Children internalize these lifelong habits in three ways, and in this order:

example: what they witness in the lives of parents and other adults whom they respect (and thus unconsciously imitate).
directed practice: what they are repeatedly led to do, or are made to do, by parents and other respected adults.
word: what they hear from parents and other respected adults as explanation for what they witness and are led to do.

Sound Judgment (Prudence)

Responsibility (Justice)

Personal Courage (Fortitude)

Self-mastery (Temperance)

Some ``Life Lessons'' Young People Need to Learn