Thursday, October 6, 2011

Vir Means Man

A morning reading, spelling, and grammar lesson held with Kara while we cuddled on the couch, McGuffey's reader open before us, sparked a thought. Virtuous. It seemed, after casual inspection, to be from the Latin word for man, vir. Before lunch I pulled the old college dictionary off the shelf, traced the etymology, and sure enough, virtuous came into the English language through that ancient word for man.
Virtuous meaning: morally good; practicing the moral duties, and abstaining from vice. Naoh Webster, in 1828, was quick to add, "The mere performance of virtuous actions does not denominate an agent virtuous." Even a good man needs a Savior.

When I remind Sam to practice his guitar so he can look in teacher in the eye "like a man," I am speaking of the same thing. I'm not expecting a macho, chest thumping, manly pride. I'm expecting a boy with a good conscience and strength of character to have nothing of which to be ashamed before his teacher. Virtuous.

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