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Virtuous Leadership: An Education of the Heart

Concepts taken from “Free Hearts,” by Alexandre Havard

Written By: Krista Keil

As a new school year begins, change is ever present. This year, change is most distinctly marked by the return to in-person education. At YLF, we are excited for the opportunity to engage with students and families face to face, once again. With this fresh start, also comes the opportunity for new curricula. For the 21’-22’ school year, YLF’s character education will continue to build upon the theme of “virtuous leadership” by emphasizing the “Education of the Heart.”

In our after school programs, YLF participants will be learning about the heart’s role in leadership and ask the questions, “Why is the heart important and what is its purpose?” When discussing "the heart," we are referring to the heart as the source of the physical and spiritual life, as it fills dual roles simultaneously. For this reason, it is the richest part of the human personality. As Havard (2020) notes, the heart refers not solely to feelings or emotions, but rather, it is the place that God speaks to us in the depths of our beings. While the heart, reason, and the will are deeply interconnected and can not function at their full capacity without one another, the heart’s role is unique in that it provides a reflection of our interior selves.

That said, there are many things that seem to hold the human heart “hostage.” A few examples include broken relationships, shattered dreams, fears, family wounds, traumas, lack of self-confidence, and perhaps even societal misconceptions that form our belief patterns and may hold us back. The question becomes, despite our human frailty and brokenness, how do we free our hearts to achieve their deepest motivations and aspire to greatness?

The answer lies in learning to allow ourselves to be loved by God. As Havard (2020) says, “Letting ourselves be loved should be the main task of our life.” If we allow ourselves to be loved, then we in turn, can love others, which will help us live fulfilling and flourishing lives. Having a free heart means freedom from anything that inhibits us from saying “yes” to things that are good for us, and stepping into a deeper understanding of our own identity. As I’m sure many of us have experienced, it is all too easy to allow our inhibitions and fears to get in the way of our deepest desires. For some of us, the very things that hold us back might stem all the way back to childhood experiences. This is why this year’s theme, “Education of the Heart,” is so pertinent for our students.

The character content for this school year will enable us to walk with students as they discover how to achieve the balance between the heart, the mind, and the will; how to understand and heal their hearts when they’ve been hurt; how to accompany others when they are hurting, and how to enable and encourage their deepest aspirations to attain new heights with maturity and strength. This process will occur by encouraging personal introspection through guiding questions and covering the topics of beauty, greatness, love, freedom, mercy, and suffering. We hope that you too, will invest in discovering the beauty that lies within a truly free heart.


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