Tapestry of Faith: Virtue Ethics: An Ethical Development Program for High School Youth

Spiritual Preparation

Part of Virtue Ethics

Few incidents from our past return to haunt us like the times we wish we had acted more courageously. Do you have a memory of a time that you let someone else down, and perhaps disappointed yourself even more? We all make mistakes. Carrying around guilt from those mistakes is not useful. Recall the quote from Simone Weil in Workshop 8: "Compassion directed to oneself is humility."

However, you can carry the memory without giving into guilt. Could you use the memory to remind you to strive toward your ideal of courage? It takes courage to forgive yourself for times you may have lacked it. It takes courage to reconcile with someone your behavior may have hurt. It is not a bad thing to remember your very human imperfections and how hard we all must work to be the best person we can be. This is lifelong work.

If you witness youth beating themselves up about past incidents during this workshop, consider sharing with them your own efforts to forgive yourself and to try again another day.