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Dangerously Good: Forming Great Souls

Where to begin with the lofty, almost nebulous virtue of magnanimity—what St. Thomas Aquinas called “stretching forth of the soul to great things”? Of course we want to raise great-souled children, who even outstrip us in their vision of the good and their commitment to serving it. But words alone will fail to impart such a personal and complex mission.

At last April’s Fatherhood Conference at The Heights, Headmaster Alvaro de Vicente tackled the challenge of how to teach magnanimity to our children. Following Fr. Carter Griffin’s keynote address, Mr. de Vicente laid out the map: the obstacles we must navigate, the targets of opportunity we must seize, and the tools to pack for the mission.


  • 4:30 Defining magnanimity: a vision of and commitment to the good
  • External challenges to teaching magnanimity:
    • 6:37 Identity culture
    • 7:43 Sexualized culture
    • 9:09 The “second-hand smoke” of culture
    • 10:20 Materialism and affluence
    • 13:18 Entertainment culture
    • 16:01 Moral relativism
  • Internal challenges to teaching magnanimity:
    • 19:23 Selfishness, “I deserve”
    • 22:33 Anxiety
    • 24:26 Personal weakness
    • 26:26 Playing the wrong role: acting coach, not director
  • Opportunities for teaching magnanimity:
    • 28:08 Dealing with our own anxiety
    • 31:32 Communicating with God and spouse about each child
    • 33:42 Emotional presence at home
    • 37:50 Expressing affection
  • Ways to discuss magnanimity with your child:
    • 40:00 Positive framework for “the talk”
    • 40:52 Examples of virtue
    • 44:36 Through sports
    • 47:00 Dependable routines
    • 47:50 Financial awareness
    • 48:59 Forming a boy’s intellect with conversation
  • Your best resources:
    • 51:38 Friendship with like-minded parents
    • 52:14 Online resources, podcasts
    • 52:52 Spiritual direction53:46 Hope in God’s grace

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About the Guest

Alvaro de Vicente

Headmaster, The Heights School

In addition to his responsibilities as headmaster of The Heights, Alvaro acts as a mentor to high schoolers, and teachers senior Apologetics.

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