Virtues and Habits

Cultivating a logical mind and a virtuous heart requires consistent practice.

Virtues are the inward values that determine outward actions. They are the mental model used for making decisions, the moral compass that guides your choices, and who we are when no one else is watching. Good character includes the ability to make the connection between the thoughts we think, the decisions we make, and our behavior. Choice is at the center of building good character. It is a maturation process that comes with training as well as life experiences.

As a student of Telos Classical Academy, I will be honest in conduct, dedicated to serious study, and respectful of the rights of others. I will exemplify PRUDENCE, TEMPERANCE, FORTITUDE, JUSTICE, PIETY, CHARITY, and SERVICE with the aim of becoming a virtuous scholar and citizen.

Growing in virtue means forming a new habit and continuing that habit over time. Students at Telos Classical Academy have opportunities to learn about and discuss how our choices every day either improve or decline our character and virtue.

Ancient Rome is believed to have been built upon 7 hills that originated as independent villages that merged and worked together to become a fortified and prosperous city. Similarly, we have built Telos upon 7 virtues that we believe are essential in forming hard working, engaged students who develop good habits and a love for learning.

Our virtues are based on the four Cardinal Virtues and the three Christian Virtues. We have adjusted them to fit our community and our culture. Contained within each virtue are three characteristics for which we strive and habits which help us embody each virtue.

“If your choices are beautiful, so too will you be.”
– Seneca


(phronesis: φρόνησῐς)

Being founded in the Greek φρόνησῐς, this term is employed by Aristotle to mean practical wisdom and rational choice. Prudence is the ability to discern the appropriate course of action to be taken in a given situation at the appropriate time. Aristotle described this as “right reason applied to right practice.” When you’re prudent, you apply eternal principles into ever- changing circumstances. Balance between principles and circumstances are important. Prudence also requires us to seek the advice of others, since others may have additional wisdom or experience that we do not.

St. Thomas Aquinas ranked prudence as the first cardinal virtue because it is rooted in the intellect and governs and sets the measure for the other virtues. Without prudence, justice becomes tyranny, fortitude becomes recklessness, and temperance becomes weakness.

We believe in helping students become intentional with their actions, have purpose in everything they do, and utilize wisdom in every deed.

How can we practice this?

  • We pay attention and set our whole focus to each task.
  • We are punctual.
  • Reflect on what we’ve done or experienced (keeping a journal is a great way to do this).
  • We redo subpar work.
  • We finish what we start.
  • Pay attention. Set your whole focus on a task without distractions.
  • We seek out positive examples to emulate.
  • We raise our expectations and aim higher for ourselves.
  • Seek the counsel of others, such as teachers, mentors, or others whose knowledge we trust and respect.


(sophrosyne: σωφροσύνη)

Temperance is the restraint of our desires or passions. Its Greek origin sophrosyne emphasizes soundness of mind and excellence of character. Temperance keeps our desires in check so that they do not overcome us. Ironically, temperance gives us freedom because it puts our will in charge of our life and allows us to change our behavior flexibly based on what we truly want.

Temperance means showing moderation in all things, practicing self-control, and being patient with ourselves and others.

How can we practice this?

  • We limit our media consumption.
  • We learn a variety of different disciplines in order to become well-rounded.
  • We think before we speak.
  • We do not act on impulse.
  • We wait a few days/weeks to purchase something expensive we want.
  • We raise our hands and refrain from calling out.
  • We exercise patience with ourselves, classmates, and teachers, even when it’s frustrating.
  • When we’re angry at someone, we pause for 10 seconds and breathe before reacting.
“Discipline is choosing between what you want now, and what you want most.”
– Abraham Lincoln



While the Cardinal Virtue is based off of the Greek term andreia (ἀνδρεία), our English term fortitude comes from the Latin fortis meaning strong, brave, and powerful. Fortitude gives us the strength to do what our minds and hearts tell us is right. It allows us to rise above our natural fears to accomplish what is right. We pursue what is good and persevere when things get tough. At times, fortitude also means changing your perspective and form of thinking from “I am so unlucky this is happening,” to “I am so lucky because even though this is happening I have the strength to endure it.”

Telos emphasizes accountability for our choices from an early age. This requires immense courage to be able to accept the consequences for our actions. We practice being vulnerable when we do not know something and admitting when we are wrong.

How can we practice this?

  • We take responsibility for our actions.
  • Complete our work when we don’t feel like it.
  • We do what we say we’re going to do.
  • We ask for help when we do not know.
  • We do not make excuses.
  • We speak up for ourselves against someone who is mistreating us.
  • We speak and present in front of others.
  • Do our best work, even if it means we’re on our 10th revision.


(dikaiosune: δικαιοσύνη)

Justice, when combined with Christian other virtues, promotes righteousness and integrity. The Greek δικαιοσύνη, from which we base our term, originates in the idea of proper customs and laws. Specifically, it holds sway in the manner in which laws are enforced and satisfied.

Justice is fulfilling our obligations to others, as well as respecting the rights of and establishing harmony that promotes equality with others. We become more just human beings as we strive to live righteously, maintain high moral standards, and trust in those who endeavor to help us.

How can we practice this?

  • We seek to be in a right relationship with God.
  • We show kindness and courtesy toward others.
  • We express gratitude toward those who have shown us kindness.
  • We take responsibility for our actions, especially if it’s difficult.
  • We do not cheat.
  • We do not lie.
  • We trust that our teachers are trying to help us.
“Justice consists not in being neutral between right and wrong, but finding out the right and upholding it, wherever found, against the wrong.”
– Theodore Roosevelt


(pistis: πίστις)

Piety means having fidelity to natural obligations such as toward God, parents, and neighbors.

Being a Christian academy, we strive to be faith promoting in everything we do. We teach a non-denominational, Christian doctrine founded in the Old and New Testaments.

How can we practice this?

  • We obey rules and procedures.
  • We accept corrections and strive to improve.
  • We admit when we’re wrong.
  • We celebrate others instead of ourselves.
  • We commit our lives to what we believe is true.
  • We keep a positive outlook despite our circumstances.
“True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”
– C.S. Lewis



Charity is the pure love which we show to God and our fellow man. Christ commanded us to love God and our neighbors in this way. It is the ability to show genuine concern and compassion for others. At Telos Classical Academy, we strive to instill a sense of love for God, ourselves, and our fellow man. We forgive those who may have wronged or offended us and act with simple kindness toward all, regardless of any differentiating quality.

How can we practice this?

  • We do not mock others.
  • We do not point out the shortcomings of others.
  • We forgive readily and do not hold grudges.
  • We seek to lift the hands which hang down.
  • We keep our hands to ourselves.
“Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
– 1 Corinthians 13:4–7



Service the willingness to bear other people’s burdens and comfort those who need it. It is an active principle of sacrifice and selflessness. At Telos, students go out of their way to help others, sacrifice their own time and energy to succor others, and strive to give service without any thought of reward or praise.

How can we practice this?

  • We recognize that faith without action is empty. We offer our help and love to others on a regular basis.
  • We clean up after ourselves.
  • We give of our time and resources to help those in need.
  • We help someone else when it’s not convenient for us.
  • We understand that service is its own reward.