Great Saints Alive!

In my youth I recall hearing adults occasionally exclaim, “Great Saints Alive!” It was used when something amazingly good had happened.  I took it to mean that there are saints among us performing miraculous acts to make this world a better place.

To all you great living saints I say: Come out, come out, wherever you are.  We are in desperate need of your services.  Who am I talking about?  All of you!  We are all capable of being those great saints alive!

Recently I’ve had a few of you ask me to list the key attributes of a striving saint.  My initial reaction was to refer you back to the sAint Me?! book.  Surely I listed saint traits in there somewhere.  But no!

I defined a saint as someone who was striving to become their best, and to give their best for the benefit of others.  I included a saint striving formula, RT x RW x G = S.  That is, do the right things in the right way and by the grace of God you may become a saint.

The book walks you through what I believe those right things and right ways are.  But to my great surprise there is no full description of what I believe the attributes and traits of a saint to be.  Oops!

Looking back, I must have assumed that saint traits are self-evident.  They really don’t need to be described.  They go without saying.  We know them when we see them.  We know them when we be them.  I thought I knew better than to assume … apparently not.

So I set off to define those traits.  Now after a week of research and contemplation, I’ve identified seven key attributes of living saints for your consideration.  They will help us to be both our happiest (Playground) and best (Saints) selves. Playground Saints are people who are:

  • Focused
  • Courageous
  • Thoughtful
  • Virtuous
  • Disciplined
  • Collaborative
  • Persistent

What do you think?  I would guess that every single one of you have other traits that you would add.  Me too.  In fact I started with a list of over 50.  Then I went through all sorts of gyrations to group like concepts, finally arriving at seven that I found to be unique and which encompass all the others.

I will share the full list with you over the next however many weeks it takes, describe each in detail, and talk about how you can build them into your very being and demonstrate them consistently.

But there is one problem to solve first.  Maybe it’s not a problem for you, but it is for me.  The list is difficult to remember.  The best way for me to recall a list is to turn it into an acronym. So I set out to find one.  Trouble is, there is not one single vowel available, so no word to be spelled.

New strategy, let’s start with a relevant word and adjust the list accordingly.  How about “playground?”  Nope too many letters.  “Saint?” Too few, we need seven.  “Saintly?”  Yep, that works. Now we just need to change the words to fit.

Here’s the new “saintly” list:

  • Stouthearted (Courageous)
  • Asceticism (Disciplined)
  • Incorruptible (Virtuous)
  • Never-ending (Persistent)
  • Teamwork (Collaborative)
  • Laser Focused (Focused)
  • Y – Wise, hey it sounds like a “Y” word (Thoughtful)

In going through the work to get to these words I found an interesting tool called the graphic thesaurus at the website  You type a word in the search field to find alternatives.  Once you hit enter it brings up a spider web looking graphic which provides two layers of similar words.

For example, for the word “saint” it provides 5 first level words, and another 25 at the second level.  To go deeper you can click on any of the suggested words to find even more.  As an example, one leg of the web took me from “saint” to “model of excellence” to “paragon” to “exemplar.”  Cool words!

I spent a couple of hours messing around with this.  Try it out for yourself by clicking here.  But be forewarned, you may be going down a rabbit hole for longer than you might expect.  I’ve bookmarked the site for my future use.

Since I probably just lost most of you, let’s end it here for now.  For your challenge, come up with your own list of Playground Saint attributes.  In fact, send them my way and I’ll make sure they are considered.  Keep your list handy and cross off the ones we touch on in the coming weeks.  If at the end you have any left over, let me know and we’ll address those too.

Be Saintly my Friends!  Scott

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