Teaching Virtues? Where Do We Start?

"Teaching virtues? Where do we start?" by Sterling Jaquith (CatholicMom.com)

Photo copyright Mink Mingle via Unsplash (2017)

I believe that virtues training is one of the biggest keys to raising children. If you’re anything like me and you received absolutely no information about virtues until your adulthood, you might find it overwhelming to teach the skill of mastering virtues to your children.

Though I haven’t found a fabulous Catholic source yet, I really do like the program at www.wechoosevirtues.com.

It’s a solidly Christian program and it features 12 virtues (diligent, helpful, perseverant, gentle, content, attentive, honest, kind, self-controlled, patient, obedience and forgiving.)

Each virtue has a catchphrase for your children to learn. For diligent, the catchphrase is, “I start fast, work hard and finish strong.” It also has what the children should not be. “I am not slow to get started, lazy, and I don’t quit early!”

These catchphrases are worded so elegantly and my kids really enjoy learning them. Or I can simply remind them of the beginning and they’ll finish it, even if there might be a bit of eye-rolling involved.

Each virtue also has a little kid who tells a sweet story about how they follow that virtue.

The other part of the program we have benefited from are there three rules. It has helped me to focus my efforts in teaching virtues to my kids. The three rules are:

  1. Obey
  2. Be Kind
  3. Be A Helper

It’s intentional that they have a specific number of words in each rule as each rule must be followed before the other. For example, if you ask your child to come into the kitchen but she sweetly says, “I can’t, Mom. I’m cleaning my room,” cleaning her room is great, but she must obey before being a helper. This system has cleared up some grey areas I was running into with my kids.

The program uses a cute analogy about caterpillars and butterflies. If you catch your children behaving poorly, you just point out the virtue that they still need to work on explaining that they are simply caterpillars waiting to bloom.  Then when you catch them being virtuous, you praise them for being a butterfly in that moment. There is a sticker chart that goes with this too. I haven’t found that we needed that part of the program.

We bought the $70 bundle a few years ago and I really liked it. Honestly, I think if you just bought the poster or the teaching cards, you’d get all the catchphrases and you could really leverage those without the other things. That’s one of the things I respect about the company is that they do try to make their smallest options affordable!

The only downside I’ve found is that the scripture verse that goes with each virtue is from a King James Bible, but that’s easy to replace. You can simply tell your kids the Catholic version of the same verse. I think it would also be easy to incorporate a saint for each virtue as well!

I just wanted to share this program will all you ladies. I think it’s fabulous. My kids are six and younger so I can’t really speak to the older ages but the program has really given me something easy to understand that I can teach. I’m very thankful for that!

Are there any other resources you’ve found helpful for teaching virtues to your children?

It has helped me to focus my efforts in teaching virtues to my kids.

Copyright 2017 Sterling Jaquith


About Author

Sterling Jaquith is a wife and mama to four little kiddos, lives in Boise, Idaho and is the host of the Coffee & Pearls show. As an adult convert, she had to discover Catholicism on her own. She is so in love with the truth and tradition of the Church that she dedicates her life to helping lukewarm Catholics discover the passion and joy of our great faith! Her books Catholic Mom Challenge and Be Merry are available on Amazon HERE!


  1. The Dominicans sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist has a great catholic virtue program – educationinvirtue.com and the Dominican Sisters in Nashville have a free program online.

  2. I recommend this wonderful Catholic virtues curriculum or at the very least the virtue cards: “The Disciple of Christ, Education in Virtue® is a Christian curriculum structured on the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas regarding the virtues and gifts of the Holy Spirit. It aims to provide a consistent structure and systematic instruction for youth to learn about the virtues so that they can form the habits and dispositions necessary to live as disciples of Jesus Christ. This curriculum emphasizes Christian discipleship as indispensable toward human flourishing and the quest for joy. It has been developed in response to the call for a New Evangelization, firmly conveying the reality that happiness is found in a life of holiness.”


  3. Hi there! I actually looked into many of these for my boys a while back. I liked the Nashville sisters’ program, but my boys got bored with it. (typical boys). =) So, I am a graphic designer and I created my own versions of charts, rewards, journaling, games, etc. to help them with practicing virtue in our daily lives, instead of following a curriculum that felt like schoolwork to them. Long story short…it has evolved into something much bigger and now it has become part of my design business. It is the I AM HIS Virtues Toolbox. Feel free to take a look at it here and let me know your thoughts! http://iamhisvirtuestoolbox.com

    PS: We are offering a $1 trial right now…a good way to dive in and check out what it’s all about.

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