If you aren’t virtuous, then by definition, you can’t be manly because the Latin root of virtue is “vir” which means “man.” Three thousand years ago, when the Greeks first came up with the concept of virtue, the only thing they had on the virtue list was ‘fortitude.’ If a man lacked the guts to protect his family and community, he was literally labeled ‘good for nothing.’ Over time, the concept of virtue has expanded. So here and now, an updated list of virtues that’ll work in the modern world. Rodale publishing found these and they come from the Reverend Forrest Church – he’s the senior minister at All Souls Church in Manhattan. See if you’re manly enough to be virtuous.

  • Virtue number one: Honesty. One of Reverend Church’s congregants has a mantra: “Feel your feelings. Tell the truth. Keep your word.” It’s a way of being honest with yourself first, and then with others. Anything less doesn’t cut it.
  • The next modern virtue: Self control. If you don’t have a craving for alcohol, then drinking in moderation isn’t a virtue. Self control only becomes virtuous when you have to make yourself resist.                         
  • Another virtue: kindness. The reverend says love doesn’t make the world go round, kindness does. It’s a purer virtue. When you’re kind to a taxi driver or the check-out person, you expect nothing in return. If you make kindness a habit, it becomes contagious.
  • How about enthusiasm. It’s a virtue and it takes guts. Anybody who rips up the dance floor, sings in the rain, or gets excited about something – sets themselves up for ridicule, especially by their children - but enthusiasm is worth the sacrifice.
  • The final virtue that you need to be a manly man: Awe. Life is stranger than can be imagined, so don’t let a day go by without letting it blow your socks off.

If you want to read more of Reverend Church’s thoughts, his latest book is called Lifecraft: The Art Of Meaning in the Everyday.