In pursuing the virtues, a scholar learns to ask, "What kind of person should I be?" This then helps them define, "What should I do?" The order of this questioning is important. The former question must be asked first. Virtues enable scholars to pursue an ideal, not a mindless checklist of rules. Below is a list of our pillars with links to recent research affirming the importance of each in achieving success in life. These virtues are then developed through learning and practice at school, including the Habits of Classical Prep.
In his famous Allegory of the Cave, Plato uses a story to demonstrate the importance of searching for truth. Classical education is based upon an understanding that truth exists, and we must pursue it diligently for our own and society's highest good. This ancient belief in the power of truth and the importance of leading a life of honesty and integrity is mirrored in modern research.
The Science of Honesty - 2012 Convention of the American Psychological Association
PsychTests Releases Results of their Honesty Study
Article on Managerial Trustworthiness
Study Linking Trustworthiness of Leaders and Employee Job Satisfaction
In The Republic
, Plato discusses the importance of education in the formation of a successful and thriving society. According to Plato, wise and moral people are the foundation of, as well as the most effective leaders in, good government. Informed and thoughtful citizens have an ethical duty to be engaged in the issues of their time and to live productive and moral lives. This enhances both the person and the quality of the society.
This understanding also underpins the motto of the State of Florida: IN MORIBUS CIVIUM SALUS RE PUBLICAE ("in the ethics of the citizens lies the health of the State").
New studies have emerged showing that self-control (or what was called "temperance" in ancient times) is critical to success – even more than previously realized. This finding has resulted in cutting-edge educators devising ways to teach this much-needed skill to their students.
Study Reveals Brain Biology Behind Self-Control
New Yorker Article on Link between Self-Control and Future Success
Youtube Video of Marshmallow Self-control Test
Current research has shown that failure is critical to success. Sound antithetical? Read the following studies regarding how the trait of perseverance is learned.
Article from The Atlantic on Study about What Happens to Students Who Aren't Allowed to Suffer through Setbacks
New York Times Article on Research on Importance of "Grit"
When respect for others is lacking, the entire community suffers. We respect others because every individual is valuable and unique. We also respect the authority of teachers whose education, knowledge, dedication, and position demand deference.
Research and Theory on Respect and Disrespect
Taking on responsibility is necessary to learn how to be an effective leader and contributing member of society. At Classical Prep, we encourage students to learn this character trait gradually, at age appropriate levels, so they can slowly attain this important tool in future success.
Article from The Atlantic on How Requiring Kids to Be Responsible Is Necessary for Future Success
Article from The New Yorker on Psychological Importance of Children Learning Responsibility
Kant defined humility as a central virtue, or "that meta-attitude that constitutes the moral agent's proper perspective on himself as a dependent and corrupt but capable and dignified rational agent." Gandhi suggested that having truth without humility is doomed to fail because it will become an "arrogant caricature" of truth.
Jim Collins, as well as the recent research of others, has found that the most effective leaders are those who have 1. a fierce resolve and 2. humility. To these researchers, humility fosters both self-understanding and awareness of others.
"Level 5 Leadership: The Triumph of Humility and Fierce Resolve", Jim Collins, Harvard Business Review, July 2005.
Humility: A Quiet, Underappreciated Strength
"Exploring the Relevance and Implications of Humility in Organizations," August 2011, The Oxford Handbook of Positive Organizational Leadership