Ventura County's Support-Local Program

The Book of Virtues – Modern Day Lessons

Virtues. Self-discipline, compassion, responsibility, friendship, courage, honesty, loyalty and faith. Our own Kat Merrick discusses her path to lessons learned in The Book of Virtues.


Lasting lessons learned at a funeral

Several years back I attended the funeral service of a friend who had passed away. This wonderful man had been my holistic doctor and, over the years, he and his family had become dear friends. His passing was a very sad loss not only for his friends and family but also for the community he worked so hard to help.

As I sat in the church and listened to his sons speak about their father, I was truly touched by not only their love for him but also their respect. They spoke of his virtues and asked that each of us in attendance please stand and tell of a virtue that we saw in their father. As each person stood and shared, my heart was lifted. Self-discipline. Compassion. Responsibility. Friendship. Strong work ethic. Courage. Honor. Kindness. Perseverance. Honesty. Loyalty. Faith.

This man, this father, this friend, reminded us all that the one thing we have in this world, the thing no one can take from us in life or death, is our virtue. And even when we leave this world, this is what will be remembered. This lesson has given me great comfort many times over the years and helped me find my courage, helped me to try and stay on my path and to work to be the best person I can be.

Lasting lessons learned from a book

Virtue-bookWhile talking with a friend the other night about the world as it is today and the seeming lack of morals – or better yet, virtue – I was reminded of this wonderful lesson, and that no matter what others do, no matter what they say, we are ultimately only responsible for ourselves and we must each decide if we have the courage to be virtuous.

It also reminded me of a book I was given for my children when they were young. The Book of Virtues provides stories that help to educate children on these positive traits that can help us strive to be the best we can in our lives, even when others may not. These valuable lessons are ones that much of today’s youth could use.

Virtues. Teach your children well.

One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous, or honest.  

Maya Angelou

More information on The Book of Virtues

The Book of Virtues, A Treasury of Great Moral Stories, sometimes just called The Book of Virtues is an anthology edited by William Bennett. It was published on November 1, 1993 by Simon and Schuster, and was followed by The Moral Compass: Stories for a Life’s Journey in late 1995. The book is intended for the moral education of the young and is divided into the different virtues, namely self-discipline, compassion, responsibility, friendship, work, courage, perseverance, honesty, loyalty and faith.

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Learn more about author Kat Merrick

Kat Merrick

About the author

Kat Merrick made her mark in the apparel world as an innovative leader and founder of Surf Chick Inc. With over 25 years of extensive experience managing worldwide capacity apparel facilities, companies and product, her superior leadership skills, practiced in directing cross-functional global teams to design, brand, source develop and marketing, won her world-wide recognition and awards. She is considered an expert in the areas of trend studies, brand building and marketing. At 23 years old she opened her first successful retail business in Ventura County, Since then, Kat has owned and operated several very successful retail and wholesale operations and assisted numerous multi-category small businesses to achieve success. Highly respected by many local small business owners, growers, artists and locals, she has been tagged as "the Shop Local girl". Kat's extensive travels, strong business knowledge and desire to make a positive impact locally helped inspire her to create Totally Local VC. A Ventura County resident since 1978, single mother of two and long-standing advocate for support of local small business and all that is Ventura, founder and developer of Totally Local VC, Kat brings her passion for our community to all she does. Her writings, posts and blog reflect her love of family, friends and community and desire to help.


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One Comment

  1. Lovely sentiment in your piece. It’s too bad that Mr. Bennett chooses not to practice what he preaches:

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