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Thursday, June 3, 2010

IPVBM - Creating a Family Code of Ethics

Thursday, June 3, 2010
This month is International Pagan Values Blogging Month. So todays post is the first of two that I am planning on doing in that spirit. As Parents it is one of our jobs to create adults and part of that is to instill a sense of ethics. So many Pagans I know focus just on the Rede and kind of a general sense of right and wrong but that doesn't always lend itself to being easily taught.

So I have put together a few lists of different virtues. To begin the process of taking these lists and creating the Code of Ethics for your Family you need to sit down with your partner (if you have one) and have a candid discussion about how you want your children to act. Then take those lists and any other ethics you can think of, remember the lists are simply guides and not a complete compendium, and begin to whittle them down to a list of twelve.

Twelve is simply a suggested goal because it is a manageable list that young children can easily grasp.

After you have done this write them out on poster board and hang them in your house so that everyone in the Family Coven can see them and be reminded of them on a daily basis.

Now don't think that you are done working at this. It is your job to live by these, to let your kids see you do that, and to make sure that they begin to act according to these rules.

If your children are old enough they may ask why they weren't included in this process. I believe that children should not be included in the process because they are not old enough to have developed their own system of ethics and a sense of right and wrong. Besides they may try to include virtues like ice cream for dinner.
But of course these are all just guidelines, not rules set in stone.

The Nine Noble Virtues
  1. Courage
  2. Truth
  3. Honor
  4. Fidelity
  5. Hospitality
  6. Discipline
  7. Industriousness
  8. Self Reliance
  9. Perseverance
In Latin, the word cor is the root for the word coraticum which means heart. This is the known etymology for the word courage, which is also translated as with heart. So Courage is to "have heart". Now Courage can mean to be brave or can mean to face life head on with passion. To operate from the heart, seat of passion and love. But it also means to live your own life in the right way regardless of how others view you.

Truth probably sounds relatively easy. Tell no lies. But Truth means much more than that. I have found that it is easier to not tell lies when you don't do things that you feel that you have to lie about. In other words be honest with yourself, first and foremost. Truth is also about having the courage to always own up to what you did.

Honor is synonymous with the word respect. When you honor other people you express your feeling that the other person has earned your respect. All of the Nine Noble Virtues center around Honor. If you act with courage, tell the truth, are loyal to others, behave with discipline, are hospitable and industrious, rely on yourself to accomplish things, and persevere until you finish what you set out to do, you will certainly command honor from others. More important, if you live that way, you can honor and respect yourself as well and never need to be ashamed of what you have done. Honor means to respect others and their beliefs and also to demand Honor from others and defending others that are not treated honorably.
But most importantly having Honor is to fulfill the promises that you make. Sometimes that this may mean that you have to think before you act and speak.

Fidelity is just a fancy word for being faithful or loyal to a person or thing and to give them help when they need it. But not if that means that you violate one of the other eight virtues to give them that help. And to not ally yourself with some group or person that stands against your own ethics. Having Fidelity also means being faithful to yourself.

Discipline is best described as self-discipline. It is the exercise of personal will that upholds honor and the other virtues. It is that which transforms impulse into action. Look around you at modern culture, and it isn't hard to see the lack of discipline that is evident. We are surrounded people obsessed with their rights and that seem to forget their responsibilities entirely.

Hospitality is the center of ancient culture. Without hospitality and the included kindness for each other than we would have never made it this far as a race. And again this is something that is lacking in our modern culture. Kindness for strangers is gone, and is replaced by the "gimme" culture.

Industriousness is best defined as persevering determination to perform a task. To embody this is not to just simply work harder than anyone. Rather it is to live life to the fullest, complete to the end every task that we begin, and to be the best at everything that we do.

Self-Reliance in relation to the Nine Noble Virtues is important. The Virtues are basically a self-imposed morality, meaning that self-reliance is necessary if we are to follow this ethic system. This is also important in the religion of the Asatru, they believe that if we are to ask things of the Gods then we must be worthy of them and the things that we have asked for.
This can also be extended to embrace a minimalist lifestyle, to be truly self-reliant then we must learn to live with only those things that are absolutely necessary.

The final virtue is Perseverance. It is also the one that I believe that we must hold first in our mind. Our world is far from perfect and if we are to make anything out of ourselves then we must persevere. It is easy to have Perseverance when we continue to succeed but at some point we will eventually fail and it is the truest measure of our character if we continue on after a failure.

Thirteen Virtues of the Witch
  1. Tolerance
  2. Charity
  3. Humility
  4. Devotion
  5. Patience
  6. Kindliness
  7. Forbearance
  8. Sincerity
  9. Courage
  10. Precision
  11. Efficiency
  12. Discrimination
  13. Wisdom
Tolerance is respect, acceptance and appreciation of the differences in the people that we meet.
Charity is love and compassion, combined with an interest in the welfare of others.
Humility is the absence of arrogance and pride.
With children Devotion is the trait that they must learn to stay committed to a project without quitting.
Patience. Probably the hardest lesson for children to learn. But children must learn to be patient, to learn to wait for the tides of energy to shift. So that they don't quit when things become boring.
Kindliness is the sincere wish to never hurt another and to never see another suffer.
Forbearance is the ability to let things go. Not to be walked all over but rather to know when to take offense and when not to.
Sincerity is the absence of deceit. It is like honesty in that the sincere person seeks after truth and justice in their lives.
Courage is the ability to face one's fear and to overcome it. It is not the bravery of the foolish but rather a well thought response to the events at hand.
Precision to be as correct and accurate as one can be.
Efficiency. Waste not, want not. Frugality ties in here. To use as little as one can to do the job at hand as full as possible.
Discrimination. To see behind the scenes and the words of others to find the truth within them.
Wisdom. Knowledge tempered by experience and matured through understanding.

Thirteen Virtues of Benjamin Franklin


Good Luck and Blessed Be!

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