The Deeper Virtues - Sunday, June 7, 2015
Successful New York Times columnist David Brooks once visited a group of 30 tutors, many of them elderly women, who taught English to immigrants. He was surprised by what he saw in these volunteers’ faces. “They just radiated a generosity of spirit,” he said. “They radiated a patience and most of all they radiated gratitude for life.” He thought to himself: “I’ve achieved career success in life, but I haven’t achieved that. What they have is that inner light that I do not have.”
Brooks wanted that kind of light in his life, and he concluded that focusing on his career was not necessarily the way to get it. He “rediscovered the elemental truth” that we all come to understand sooner or later: “[A successful career] doesn’t make you happy.”1
So what does? What is it that made those humble English tutors—and others like them from all walks of life—so bright and radiant and happy? Perhaps part of the answer lies in an understanding of what life is all about. Is it just to promote ourselves, achieve as much wealth and status as we can, and make our lives as comfortable as possible until the end comes? Or is there more to life than that?
Brooks thinks so. He distinguishes between two kinds of virtues: “résumé virtues,” the kind we list to impress others and advance our careers; and “eulogy virtues,” the kind people remember at our funeral—those virtues that exist at the core of our being: love, loyalty, kindness, courage.2
Even if we’ve already discovered the importance of these deeper virtues, they’re worth rediscovering again and again. When everything else has passed away, the relationships we have formed, the love we’ve felt, the sacrifices we’ve made in behalf of others, even the challenges and internal struggles that have helped us become our best selves—these are the deeper values and virtues that shape our character and give our lives meaning.
-Lloyd D. Newell
1. In “Take It from David Brooks: Career Success ‘Doesn’t Make You Happy,’” NPR, Apr. 13, 2015, npr.org/2015/04/13/399391894/take-it-from-david-brooks-career-success-doesnt-make-you-happy; emphasis added.
2. See “The Moral Bucket List,” New York Times, Apr. 11, 2015, nytimes.com/2015/04/12/opinion/sunday/david-brooks-the-moral-bucket-list.html.
June 7, 2015
Broadcast Number 4,473
Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square
Bells on Temple Square
I Feel My Savior’s Love
K. Newell Dayley; arr. Sam Cardon
Meditation on an Old Covenanter’s Tune
Praise the Lord with Drums and Cymbals
Sigfrid Karg-Elert; arr. Andrea Handley
Count Your Blessings instead of Sheep, from White Christmas
Irving Berlin; arr. Michael Davis
High on the Mountain Top
Ebenezer Beesley; arr. Mack Wilberg