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The Program (Virtue Ethics)

Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. — Marcus Aurelius

We make hundreds of decisions every day. Some are small. Some are life changing, although we may not know their significance when we make them. This program's premise—in the words of the Buddha, recited in every workshop Opening—is that "our thoughts and actions become habits and our habits shape our character." We have some control over our character. We can shape the person we want to be by making intentional, thoughtful decisions.

In Workshop 1, youth explore how we make decisions. Subsequent workshops each present a virtue commonly considered ethical. Participants question what they have been taught about each virtue, how the virtue operates in the real world, and whether and how they might practice it. In each workshop, the youth practice ethical decision making in response to hypothetical situations and stories they share from their own experiences.

The virtues presented in this program were selected, from a large number one might cultivate, to provide a gateway into ethical decision making and character development. It is hoped that youth will use these virtues throughout their lives.

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Last updated on Thursday, March 15, 2012.

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