Teaching Character

In general character is taught, not embedded within us. Yes, one might be naturally compassionate, but true character is taught. Teaching character is done successfully when taught by the most influential people in a child’s life. When teaching character, it is vital to start as early as possible. It has been noted by adopted and foster parents that if a child has already learned poor character traits it is close to impossible to turn in a full 180 degrees.

Parents have a huge responsibility and by their actions can help or damage a child. Teaching character by example is the most effective way to teach properly. For example, a child witnesses his/her parent stealing, that child will think that stealing is no big deal. Children are sponges from a very early age and will do what they see being done. If mom lies a lot, the child will most likely do the same. If good character traits are not taught at a very young age, they will not likely learn them as a young adult. Parents must make teaching character to their children a priority. If a child ditches school, or disrespects an authority figure, this must be dealt with …

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Book Review

How to Counteract the Attack on Character in Today’s Society

A drift from the core values on which our country was founded has produced a moral decline in our country. Carl Sommer attributes this decline to the fact that character is under attack in our nation. In his new book “Character Under Attack & What You Can Do about It” Carl Sommer considers the spirit of America’s founding fathers in light of today’s climate of violent crime, the increase in prison population, and the philosophical battle and cultural war being raged in the political arena.

Sommer observes; there was a time when Americans took pride in their moral heritage. In recent years there has been an erosion of values which has serious implications for both our schools and society. Sommer quotes from scholars, philosophers, educators, politicians, and theologians to present his case for a return to an emphasis on character programs and traditional values in the curriculum of our schools.

Sommer talks about four keys to successful schools. He introduces four model schools that are making effective inroads into making this difference. He then offers “Action Steps” for educators, parents, and concerned citizens to affect positive results.

Sommer writes out …

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Character Education Programs

Our children will be returning to days of regimented learning when they return to school next week. Unlike previous years, Lela won’t be learning Mandarain, Spanish, theater or knitting. After school, she’ll probably walk home, perhaps with friends from her neighborhood, and play and relax.

During the last twenty years, our kids have been robbed of at least eight hours of leisurely, spontaneous and unstructured play time every week. Compared to children from sixty years ago, it’s fairly obvious that our children’s ability to regulate their own behavior, control their impulses and understand their emotions is much worse. Studies have shown an alarming trend in self-regulation; our five-year-olds behave like 1940’s three-year-olds, and our seven-year-olds have the same emotional capacity as five-year-olds from that same period.

Unstructured recreation, led by children, add to a child’s emotional health, as well as their social, physical and intellectual skills. Unstructured play can teach children to successfully work in groups, as well as how to negotiate, resolve conflicts, share, speak up, and regulate their own behavior and emotions. Another study has revealed that children who attend traditional, academic preschools do not have an educational advantage in reading or math over children who attended preschools …

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The Best Way to Teach Character

Recently I saw the movie Slumdog Millionaire. At the heart of the movie was the theme of a yearning for love. The main character the orphan boy Jamal found his love connection with Latika another orphan. It was not the passionate kind of love story we are accustomed to in the movies but a longing to be loved and to be needed.

Seeing this movie caused me to reflect on my own childhood. My maternal grandfather was a man so big hearted that at his funeral every one of his nine grandchildren believed they were his favorite. I cannot remember an occasion in which he didn’t tell me how wonderful and cherished I was. The strength of his words helped nurture a resilience in me for those difficult times of disappointment, failure, criticism or whatever threatened to harden my heart.

Knowing this I can’t help but wonder why most parents fail in this most important job. Imagine how changed you might be if every day your spouse, your children or whoever shares you life told you how wonderful you are. This kind of loving commitment and confidence would inspire everything you do all day long.

I fail at this as …

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