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The most important virtue

(51 Posts)
Flyingfish2019 Wed 06-Mar-19 21:46:48

What is the most important virtue to your mind. If a good fairy gave you one perfect virtue (like perfect courage, perfect patience, perfect diligence, perfect loyality, perfect intelligence, perfect .... and so on) which would you choose and which would you choose for your children. Would it be the same one? As for me: not sure. Maybe I decide later after having read other people’s answers.

kayaholly Wed 06-Mar-19 21:49:53

Perfect Loyalty, all the rest fall under it for me.

BlueMerchant Wed 06-Mar-19 21:50:21

Myself- perfect grace.
My children- perfect courage

HarrysOwl Wed 06-Mar-19 21:50:26

Good self esteem. If that's a virtue as such?

Bad self esteem can adversely affect so much of your life, I think having a strong, positive sense of yourself paves the way for being a kinder, more respectful, good person.

Flyingfish2019 Wed 06-Mar-19 21:54:00

@HarrysOwl I am not sure if perfect self-esteem traditionally would be considered a virtue, wouldn’t perfect modesty be one... and they cannot both be virtues at the same time... but I agree. Selfesteem is very important.

Lellikelly26 Wed 06-Mar-19 21:57:13

It shouldn’t be underestimated

Flyingfish2019 Wed 06-Mar-19 21:58:28

@BlueMerchant: I think perfect courage is the virtue i would choose least likely for my children. I would rather hope they grow into perfect cowards... or at least coward enough to step aside and let others stop the scary robber from snatching the little old ladies bag (or whatever act of courage people might think of).

I do appreciated courage a lot. In others. But not in my children. Would also like to be a bit more courageous myself.

JaneEyre07 Wed 06-Mar-19 21:59:04

I agree with PP, kindness. If we all had kindness, the world would be a much better place.

Flyingfish2019 Wed 06-Mar-19 21:59:35

@Lellykelly kindness. How could I forget about this one. That’s very important for me.

OMGithurts Wed 06-Mar-19 22:00:14

Perfect wisdom. Then you would know exactly what was right and wise to do in all other situations so the rest of the virtues wouls follow.

Etino Wed 06-Mar-19 22:02:27

Can I add some to what I’ve got? So what I’m massively lacking is drive or energy- what’s that in virtue terms.
Not sure about the loyalty as a virtue- it needs tempering. I’m sure your average isis fighter is fiercely loyal.

LosingNemo Wed 06-Mar-19 22:02:33

I’m with lellikelly (sorry can’t do fancy tagging) - kindness is the virtue of virtues. To my mind it’s the reason for being. I try to teach my kids this.

HarrysOwl Wed 06-Mar-19 22:03:51

Perfect wisdom

And the thread can endth there!

SeaweedDress Wed 06-Mar-19 22:06:47

Wisdom. I don’t think loyalty is in itself necessarily a virtue at all. You can be utterly loyal to an appalling cause or person.

Flyingfish2019 Wed 06-Mar-19 22:07:00

@Etino Drive or energy in terms of virtues. Do you perhaps mean lust for live or vitality or discipline as virtues. I think those can be virtues.

winterisstillcoming Wed 06-Mar-19 22:08:39

My first instinct is kindness. But enlightenment covers it all

Flyingfish2019 Wed 06-Mar-19 22:09:18

@Seaweeddress That’s true. I think other virtues can become twisted and perverted too. Think of courage or think intelligence and think of the typical James Bond villain. An intelligent villain is a far bigger problem then a stupid one.

Etino Wed 06-Mar-19 22:09:56

Yep, I’ll go with discipline. For me and my children. On top on what they’ve got as they’re/ we’re good on kindness.
I don’t think modesty is a particularly useful virtue!

pallisers Wed 06-Mar-19 22:11:07

I'm with Lellikelly and LosingNemo. kindness. The most underated virtue of all. I don't think you can have a happy family or a happy marriage or a happy home where there isn't active kindness.

I am not overly religious but I think the definition of love in Corinthians 13 has yet to be beat. Love is kind is right up there.

raindancemumma Wed 06-Mar-19 22:15:06

Another vote for kindness here. It's very much needed and is so easy to instil

Inapickle230 Wed 06-Mar-19 22:16:53

I agree with kindness. I also think positivity (not sure if it’s a virtue), people who believe the best is yet to happen and appreciate the little things seem to have got it right.

OMGithurts Wed 06-Mar-19 22:17:01

I think kindness can be destructive, ill applied. Women stay in awful relationships because they are conditioned to be kind and look out for others.

Flyingfish2019 Wed 06-Mar-19 22:21:49

OMGithurts I did not think about it... but that right. To much kindness can be bad if there is a person who takes advantage of this... makes me wonder: is there even a virtue that is always good?

grincheux Wed 06-Mar-19 22:24:53

Forgiveness I think, I'm a bugger for holding a grudge.

willstarttomorrow Wed 06-Mar-19 22:27:17

Kindness and courtesy , a simple act of kindness make a huge difference and usually those who give consider it nothing but it means so much to the recipient. On the flip side the least attractive trait in others is meaness. Not just financially but in attitude and towards other people in general.

blackteasplease Wed 06-Mar-19 22:28:29


RickOShay Wed 06-Mar-19 22:28:52

Kindness includes being kind to yourself
I think it’s the most important thing
be kind, that’s it really grin

SeaweedDress Wed 06-Mar-19 22:29:02

Agree entirely, OMG. ‘Kindness’ is socialised into women from a young age.

pallisers Wed 06-Mar-19 22:32:16

Agree entirely, OMG. ‘Kindness’ is socialised into women from a young age.

Being kind doesn't have to mean being a mug. I grew up in a kind home - and also one in which I was given very good boundaries, very good understanding of not putting up with shit, a strong sense of my own self-worth. I actively chose a kind man as a husband because my dad was one of the kindest men I ever met. My sister did the same. I value kindness in myself and in others and have never been treated like a mug.

VikingVolva Wed 06-Mar-19 22:33:57

Kindness is not a synonym for subservience.

It is a virtue in both sexes. Much under-rated, and top of my list too.

Ohyesiam Wed 06-Mar-19 22:36:49

I am not sure if perfect self-esteem traditionally would be considered a virtue, wouldn’t perfect modesty be one... and they cannot both be virtues at the same time...
How come? One can feel good about oneself and be modest too. Or am I missing something?

SeaweedDress Wed 06-Mar-19 22:37:18

No, it doesn’t, I agree, pallisers — and I’m also married to a kind man — but it’s heavily gendered in its social manifestation to the extent that female kindness is taken for granted, which is not negligible when it comes to assumptions about women ‘naturally’ being unpaid carers, and the low status of caring jobs, for instance.

WFTisgoingoninmyhead Wed 06-Mar-19 22:38:33

Perfect Respect

tattooq Wed 06-Mar-19 22:40:37

No way would I chose kindness, for myself or DD. Women are already socialised to be kind to their own detriment, I certainly have been. No, I'd like my DD to have courage, the courage to leave a bad relationship/job/situation and to put herself forward for things that she otherwise might not, to advocate for herself and stand up for what she believes in.

Flyingfish2019 Wed 06-Mar-19 22:41:59

@OhyesIam Well. I am not sure. Let’s say that I am the most famous and renowned expert on... let’s say klingon language.

As a person with selfesteem I would say: Yes, of course this is my field of expertise and i am one of the most renowned experts in this fields
But as a modest person would say: Well, yes, I may speak a little klingon

Ohyesiam Wed 06-Mar-19 22:44:31

I have good self esteem and am more likely to say the second

SeaweedDress Wed 06-Mar-19 22:53:42

Amen, tattooq.

Stompythedinosaur Wed 06-Mar-19 22:57:21

I would choose courage. I think without it you don't have agency over your life, so you can't choose whether to be kind/loyal/whatever.

I like the Anais Nin quote "Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage".

Flyingfish2019 Wed 06-Mar-19 22:57:38

BTW I started a thread about the giving tree. Igitte be interesting from a too much kindness perspective.

willstarttomorrow Wed 06-Mar-19 23:00:34

OMGithurts - whilst I agree to some extent that kindness is sometimes be taken advantage of I think that that the example you give is far more complex. On a very simple level if someone lets you jump in front of them in a supermarket queue, lets you go ahead in the public toilets because your toddler is crossing their legs or a stranger just has a chat with you when you are having a really bad day this is kindness. Good people (and slightly flawed people) find themselves in positions where they are abused and exploited. My professional experience and supporting pyschological assements have never once concluded kindness to be the presenting concern. Typically there is some level of neediness in the victim to be loved and save which perpetuates a continued relationship. This is not victim blaming, there is likely to be a reason for an individuals emotional and mental health. Perpetrators pray on this and it is not a healthy relationship between equals. However kindness in itself does not make you a vicTim.

pallisers Wed 06-Mar-19 23:09:36

I value kindness but I think the giving tree is crap and agreed with your thread. Women in particular do have to watch out for how society wants to kidnap and exploit their generosity and kindness.

I regularly read stuff on MN where women are describing situations which I wouldn't tolerate for a minute - and neither would my mother, sister or father - yet all are very kind.

RickOShay Wed 06-Mar-19 23:09:58

Kindness is not weakness.
If people were kind or kinder, the need for courage or resilience would be less.

CallipygianFancier Wed 06-Mar-19 23:10:22

I'm with blackteaplease, Integrity.

PrismGuile Wed 06-Mar-19 23:12:35

@kayaholly lots of people were perfectly loyal to hitler... loyalty isn't always good.

EarringsandLipstick Wed 06-Mar-19 23:16:50

Great question! For me...calmness.
If I could stay calm, so many situations would resolve themselves. I'm improving, I think.

PrismGuile Wed 06-Mar-19 23:18:07

The most important virtue is honour.

It doesn't hold as much fallibility as the others - if you're too kind you risk being destroyed under it, too honest and you may hurt people or yourself, too loyal and you become a sycophant, wisdom without temperance can lead to arrogance, too disciplined and you become unsympathetic, too much forgiveness and you're trampled on.

But to act with perfect honour, you will always know you have done the right thing.

Connieston Wed 06-Mar-19 23:18:50

Punctuality. Dear God why can't grown adults arrive to an agreed time.

kayaholly Thu 07-Mar-19 11:43:10

Prismguile I read that and went oooh that's a point and someone else said about ISIS and those are both true, then my inner arsehole pointed out that the thread was about "perfect" qualities", those are examples of misplaced Loyalty not perfect Loyalty grin but yes I take your point, I like the idea of your perfect honour it probably describes it better than loyalty. I just like people to have a good moral basis :D

thecatsthecats Thu 07-Mar-19 12:55:05

I second perfect wisdom. In fact, I find this an oldie but a goodie:

"Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference."

Kindness is a weird one, not because it's not important, but because misplaced kindness can lead to inability (in children, over babied) or exploitation - which is why I put the above first. If you apply those principles first, doing the kind thing is just as often the wise or courageous thing.

Damntheman Thu 07-Mar-19 13:24:56

I would choose perfect patience, for both my children and I. They can have an imperfect kindless, but a wealth of patience would make their lives so much easier/happier. My father had what felt like an infinite perfect patience and I miss that comfort.

PBo83 Thu 07-Mar-19 14:04:25

Modesty and humility.

Things I fear that our current generation may grow up lacking thanks to the forced-narcissism brought about by social media and an evermore 'child-centric' society.

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