The Narnian Virtues

Character education is the deliberate attempt to cultivate virtue.

The ‘Narnian’ virtues, those exhibited by one or another person in the Narnia novels that make up the Narnian Virtues Curriculum, are: wisdom, love, integrity, self-control, fortitude and justice.

We define ‘virtues’ as good moral habits; good character consists of these good habits. If a person is ‘of good character’, then he or she will have developed a range of virtues (good habits).

Wisdom

The habit of exercising good judgement; being able to see what is true and good and choosing the best course of action.

Without wisdom, we cannot make good decisions.

Curiosity
Part of wisdom is curiosity: the habit of being inquisitive; showing the desire to learn or know something. In general, it is wise to want to learn, but wisdom cautions us not to explore what may be bad for us (such as illegal drugs and the occult or ‘bad pictures’ such as pornography in magazines or on the Internet).

Curiosity is the mark of an active mind, but curiosity about the wrong things can get us in trouble.

Love

The habit of acting selflessly for the good of another, without seeking recognition or reward; willingness to sacrifice for the sake of others by putting their well-being ahead of our own; doing good for others by being kind, caring, generous, and loyal.

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for another.

Forgiveness
The habit of letting go of anger or resentment toward others who have caused us injury. Forgiving someone who has hurt you is an act of love.

Many people find forgiveness difficult when someone has hurt them deeply.

Gratitude
The habit of feeling and expressing thanks for benefits received.

Gratitude is love expressed.  Gratitude leads us to count our blessings.

Integrity

The habit of being true to ourselves and truthful with others; standing up for moral principles and following our conscience; not engaging in self-deception, such as telling ourselves that it’s OK to do something that, deep down, we know is wrong.

If we have integrity, we don’t deceive others or ourselves.

Humility
The habit of being aware of our strengths and shortcomings; striving to correct our flaws and failures; being free from pride and arrogance. Without humility, pride blinds us to our faults. Humility is an aspect of integrity because it means being honest with ourselves, and others, about our failings.

Humility is not thinking less of ourselves, but thinking of ourselves less.

Fortitude

The habit of the doing what is right and necessary in the face of difficulty; the mental and emotional strength, the ‘inner toughness’, to endure suffering and overcome adversity; exhibiting qualities such as confidence, courage, perseverance, and resilience when challenging circumstances demand them.

They would need fortitude to endure the difficult journey ahead.

Hard Work
The habit of working towards a wise goal with energy, commitment and persistence.

You have to work hard to meet your goals.

Courage
The habit of overcoming fear when facing physical danger or social pressure to do what’s wrong.

Moral courage—standing up for what’s right when it’s unpopular to do so—is rarer than bravery in battle.

Self-control

The habit of self-restraint; the mastery and moderation of our desires, emotions, impulses, and appetites; resisting temptation; delaying gratification in order to achieve a higher goal.

In the absence of self-control, our desires control us.

Justice

The habit of treating everyone with equal respect and fairness; fulfilling our responsibilities; taking responsibility for our actions, sincerely admitting when we’ve done wrong, and making amends; recognising that no one—including ourselves—is ‘above the law’.

Justice requires us to treat everyone with respect, take responsibility for our actions, and recognise that no one has the right to do wrong.