Value of the week: Prudence

Neil Hawkes
2 min readMay 4, 2020

Prudence is the footprint of Wisdom — Amos Bronson Alcott

Prudence is the quality of being wise, when we show care and thought for the future.

View of Rutland Water

For me, at this stage of the pandemic, showing prudence is vital if we are to continue limiting its impact on people throughout the world.

My wife, Jane, and I were recently returning along the road to our home in Hambleton, which sits within Rutland Water Park and nature reserve, after taking our permitted exercise. Rutland Water has been closed to visitors, as a response to the potential crowds who would be unable to social distance. There are large no entry notices along the road stating that the Park is closed because of the virus. On passing one of the entry points we noticed someone who had climbed over the barrier and three others were about to follow. I politely pointed out that the Park is closed and that we are no longer permitted to walk in it because of the virus.

My words fell on deaf ears as I was ignored. You may have witnessed similar behaviour in other settings by a minority who seem to be oblivious to being prudent.

Prudence is a powerful value that I think is often overlooked. In the Middle Ages it was considered to be one of the four important virtues to be developed and applied. When we really live a value it then becomes one of our virtues. Prudence helps us to think about the consequences of our actions, helping us to determine our choices. When we are being prudent we show care and thought for the future. The four people who disregarded the no entry signs were not using prudence to guide them — they had not considered the consequences and perhaps unintended consequences of their actions. The right to do as they please seemed uppermost in their minds.

I don’t know if, like me, you catch yourself out for not being prudent? It is always easy to criticise others, but until each of us stands back from our thinking and behaviour to consider the extent to which we are being prudent then selfishness will reign supreme. It is also useful to remember that our real values are those on display when we think no one is watching us!

I am hoping that our beautiful Rutland Water will soon be a safe environment to enjoy and that because we all have been prudent people will be able to enjoy it.

Neil Hawkes



Neil Hawkes

Dr. Neil Hawkes is well known as an inspirational speaker, educator, broadcaster, author and social commentator. He is a popular TEDx presenter.