My colleague Dan Klein and his wife, Lotta, have a “Virtues Project” for their 12-year-old daughter, Becca. This project is evidence of Dan’s and Lotta’s great wisdom. Here it is, pasted below with Dan’s kind permission:
To: Rebecca Stern
From: Daniel Klein
RE: VIRTUES PROJECT
Date: 20 Jan 2013
CC: Lotta Stern
Each Wednesday, by 20:00, email me your written thoughts on the virtue of the week. Your written thoughts should include answers to the following questions. (To state the questions, I will use as an example the first virtue, punctuality.)
1. What does punctuality mean? Give a definition.
2. Describe a scene in a TV show (Buffy, Big Bang, Veronica, etc.) or movie (Strictly Ballroom, Mary Poppins, Gladiator, etc.) in which a character exemplifies punctuality.
3. Tell of a real life incident in which you exhibited punctuality.
4. Tell of a real life incident in which you failed to exhibit punctuality.
5. Each virtue might be thought of as an ability to command, control, or resist certain passions. What passion does punctuality command/control/resist?
6. Name another virtue that is like punctuality in some ways but different in some way (maybe because it pertains to a different situation or set of circumstances). How does the other virtue that you name differ from punctuality?
7. Why is Mary’s punctuality beneficial to Mary herself?
8. Why is Mary’s punctuality beneficial to people around Mary, such as her roommate or her employer.
9. Aristotle said that each virtue stands between two vices:
-a. To one side of the virtue of punctuality is the vice of not taking care to be punctual. What would be the name of that vice?
-b. On the other side of the virtue of punctuality is the vice of taking too much care to be punctual, or overdoing it. What would be the name of that vice?
Do punctuality the first week. After that you decide which virtue to treat. You can choose from the list below, or come up with one not on the list.
Virtues to consider (it’s OK to come up with others on your own):
(Cafe patrons will remember Becca and Lotta from this great Reason.tv video .)