Our ABC Virtues Refrigerator Magnets, ABC Placemats, Posters and Flags all display the same virtue names. As adults, we have an intuitive sense of what each of these virtues mean, but it is not always easy to describe them in child-friendly terms.
Since children will remember these virtues best when they are used to describe their own behavior, I am offering my suggestions of how to use the names of these virtues when you see them displayed. These short definitions are just a starting point. Don’t be shy about using a dictionary to look up longer definitions. It may take some thought to figure out how to describe these virtues in ways that your child can understand. As they grow, your definitions may change. Along the way, both you and they will gain a deeper appreciation for each of these qualities. More detailed definitions of a variety virtues are also available on our Virtue Cards and in the Family Virtues Guide. We are also working on our own detailed definitions for use in upcoming books and coloring books.
Note that the ABC Character Building Blocks include a few virtues not listed here, and our Character Growth Chart uses a completely different list. Our Character Coins also use a completely different collection of virtues, geared towards adults and not limited to two per letter.
Call them active when they initiate activities other than watching TV or playing video games.
Call them adorable when they do something that melts your heart.
Call them attentive when they listen to what you are saying, even if there are lots of distractions.
Call them brave when they try something new or challenging.
Call them beautiful when they are a pleasure to be with.
Call them creative when they put things or ideas together in a new way.
Call them courteous when they say please and thank-you, or are polite in social situations.
Call them dependable when they do what they say they will.
Call them delightful when they make you smile.
Call them eager when they are excited about doing something.
Call them eloquent when they use words well for their age.
Call them energetic when their youthful energy is being channeled wisely.
Call them excellent when they achieve something at the top edge of their ability.
Call them forgiving when they let go of anger or disappointment with a friend.
Call them friendly when they make an effort to get along with their peers.
Call them generous when they share something of theirs with a friend or family member
Call them gentle when they handle small animals, babies or delicate items with care.
Call them helpful whenever they help you do something – even if you have to make up an artificial need so that they can practice this important virtue.
Call them happy when they are enjoying the many virtues that surround them.
Call them independent when they try something new on their own.
Call them intuitive when they express a thought or feeling about their environment that might not be obvious at first glance, or that they figured out through an emotional insight rather than through their rational understanding.
Call them idealistic when they express hopes and dreams for a better world.
Call them just when they choose to be fair, whether it is in a game, or when dividing treats.
Call them joyful when they take pleasure in their own growth.
Call them kind when they show concern for other people and animals.
Call them knowing or knowledgeable when they share with you something new they have learned.
Call them loving when they perform acts of kindness or service for those they love.
Call them loyal when they show support or say positive things about one friend or family member to another.
Call them mature when they behave in a way that is advanced for their age, or do NOT behave in a way that might be considered typical for their age.
Call them modest when they 1) dress and behave appropriately for their age and gender or 2) avoid bragging or boasting about their accomplishments.
Call them noble when they strive to be their very best.
Call them nurturing when they care for those weaker than themselves.
Call them observant when they notice something interesting and point it out to you.
Call them optimistic when they show a positive outlook towards some future endeavor.
Call them organized when they clean their room, compete a puzzle or successfully take on a task with multiple parts.
Call them patient when they wait for you.
Call them playful when they are having fun being silly.
Call them questioning when they want to know more.
Call them quiet when they are willing to moderate their noise level to match the situation.
Call them radiant when they are so full of life and love and enthusiasm that you can hardly stand it.
Call them respectful when they control their impulses in respect for the rights and feelings other people, or when they do thing that show that they value people and things other than themselves.
Call them strong when they put forth extraordinary effort, either physically or emotionally.
Call them sincere when they express how they really feel.
Call them truthful when they tell the truth – even if it is difficult.
Call them thankful when they express gratitude.
Call them unique when they do something that demonstrates their unique personality or way of thinking.
Call them unselfish when they give up something they want for someone else.
Call them unified when they successfully negotiate with other children or family members to do things together.
Call them vibrant when they approach a task full of energy and enthusiasm.
Call them virtuous when they demonstrate a combination of any of these virtues, but especially the kind, loving, selfless and generous ones.
Call them wise when they recognize the difference between what their impulses demand and what their virtues require.
Call them wonderful when you are amazed at how well they are practicing these virtues.
Call them expressive when they use words, gestures and emotions to communicate their experience.
Call them exuberant when their enthusiasm is so contagious that you catch it yourself.
Say “you are being yourself” when they express a personal opinion or do something that makes you want to smile because it is just so “them.”
Say they are yearning when they want something good for them or the world with all of their heart.
Say they have zeal when they express commitment and enthusiasm for achieving a goal.
Call them zestful when their natural joy of life bubbles over.