Character Education

Teaching Virtue at Lafayette Academy

The purpose of education is two-fold: The acquisition of knowledge and wisdom, and the cultivation of virtue. From the time of the ancients to the Founders of America, classical education taught that the practicing of virtue is the key to true happiness. Anchoring education in the four virtues – temperance, fortitude, justice, and prudence – teaches students to love what is good, beautiful, and true.

Classical education provides students with the foundation to live a principled life. Equally as important as our quest for academic rigor and excellence is our pursuit of virtuous character in our young men and women. Virtue is at the core of all that happens at Lafayette Academy, from the literature we read to the conversations in the hallways. Our content-rich curriculum is the medium through which we are able to inculcate virtue into the hearts of our students. The four classical virtues of prudence, temperance, justice and fortitude will be are taught, modeled and expected by all those who are a part of the Lafayette community.

A virtuous life can only be attained through constant and consistent practice. We strive to instill each of the four classical virtues by practicing specific habits.

I. Prudence

(honesty, wisdom, integrity, humility) Having sound judgment and making sound choices. It is about being thoughtful. Prudence is developed through the following habits:

  • Habit of Attention: turning the whole force of the mind to the subject in hand.
  • Habit of Wisdom: having experience, knowledge, and good judgment.  We are lovers of knowledge and purse that knowledge our whole life long.
  • Habit of Remembering: recalling at will knowledge stored in the memory.
  • Habit of Honor: we believe there is a truth; we look at history honestly and courageously. 
  • Habit of Listening: we listen to others’ ideas and thoughtfully consider events of the past to shepherd future decisions. 

II. Temperance

(order, self-governance, courtesy, self-control, patience, obedience, personal accountability) Mastering ourselves for the sake and happiness of those around us It’s about acting the right way at the right time. Temperance is developed through the following habits:

  • Habit of Self-control: tempering the expression of our passions and emotions.
  • Habit of Patience: bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint; remaining steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity.
  • Habit of Excellence: working carefully to complete any task to the very best of one’s ability.

III. Justice

(respect, friendship, kindness, generosity, fairnesscompassion, consideration, love) Treating others with respect and taking responsibility for their well-being.  Justice is developed through the following habits:

  • Habit of Courtesy: behavior marked by respect for and consideration of others.
  • Habit of Fairness: impartial and just treatment or behavior without personal bias.
  • Habit of Gratitude: appreciating the blessing set before you.

IV. Fortitude

(courage, optimism, perseverance, good citizenship, loyalty, grit) Having the courage to face challenges and obstacles; persevering when things get tough. Fortitude is developed through the following habits:

  • Habit of Grit: to work strenuously toward challenges, maintaining effort and interest over years despite failure, adversity, and plateaus in progress.
  • Habit of Courage: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.
  • Habit of Joyfulness: choosing to display a positive outlook despite one’s circumstances.

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