My first time going on a roller coaster was when I was 11 years old. It was a year after my sisters and I immigrated to the United States and we were excited to try as many “American” activities as possible. Going on a roller coaster ride was one of our top priorities. However, my 11 year old mind never considered the possibility of acrophobia (fear of heights) until I was buckled and strung tightly in the air. I am happy to say that after that experience, I have never gone on another roller coaster again and don’t plan on doing so any time in the near future.Read More
What's Happening in Character?
When I was a gymnastic teacher in my twenties at a gymnastics center, I used to instruct little girls on all sorts of tricks on the beam, bar and other gymnastics equipment. Gymnastics is not an easy sport to do. It is downright scary at times and takes courage to perform well. Just watch the Olympics on TV. So as one can imagine, overcoming fear was one of our focus at the gym. Often when I asked some young girls to spin on the beam, they usually answered with a stern no. Therefore I learned early as an instructor to immediately respond, “The word ‘can’t’ is not in the English dictionary.” As outlined in Principle 2 of the 11 Principles of Effective Character Education — in developing character to include “thinking” “feeling” and “doing” — I encouraged these young gymnasts to not only perceive but take actions that strengthened their character.Read More
Even though there are many ways to define character education, for the moment let’s assume that Wikipedia provides a reasonable starting point: “…an umbrella term loosely used to describe the teaching of children in a manner that will help them develop variously as moral, civic, good, mannered, behaved, non-bullying, healthy, critical, successful, traditional, compliant or socially acceptable beings.” While there is plenty in this definition to inspire healthy debate, my primary concern with it is this: it assumes character development only applies to human beings.Read More
It only takes one click to reveal your character. Just one click, and anyone in the world has access to the content that exists on your social media profiles. Every status you write, picture you post, and article you share leaves a permanent trail often referred to as your social media footprint. Whether you realize it or not, the trail you leave behind says a lot about who you are. Now that social media is so prevalent in all of our lives, it is essential to ask yourself the following question, "What does my social media presence reveal about my character?"Read More
Nowadays, we hear a lot in media about environmentalism and the effect humans have on the planet. We know more now. Thankfully, for the most part, we know better. Even still, it can be difficult to get started without being overwhelmed (I need to recycle this. Wait, should this be composted? What can I plant to best help the local wildlife? I live in an apartment and don’t know what to do…). I encourage everyone to try to do better by starting small. Because even the smallest effort can cause positive change.Read More
In elementary school, Nadia and Rosie walked home together every day. They would play with Nadia’s dog and swing on Nadia’s hammock. In sixth grade, that all changed. Rosie felt suffocated by Nadia and dodged her after school. She’d hide in the bathroom until her new friends said the coast was clear. Nadia was hurt and confused, and her mother, Dana, was conflicted. “They’ve been best friends forever,” she told me. “But Rosie is in a faster crowd and constantly gets in trouble. I want Nadia to move on, but instead she’s become obsessed with who’s popular. I’m not sure what, if anything, I should say to Rosie’s mom.”Read More
Character is developed through our participation in sports and competition. I had the great fortune of playing baseball 20 years of my life—including most of college. I have found that engaging in sports can teach us a lot about life. There will be times when we have wins and losses. There will be times when we have failures and triumphs. However, the true test of character remains in how we respond to these circumstances.Read More
Social Studies is an inherently personal topic.
It is that time of the school day that has been carved out to specifically look at our history, our accomplishments, failures, systems we have created in order to survive and most importantly, relationships we have developed. It is more than the mere regurgitation of names and dates. It is a wonderful opportunity to look with a critical eye and develop our own ideas while refining our values through connections, self-reflection and conversations with peers. It offers a chance to learn from the past so we can do better for the future.
This is a realization that our world desperately needs.Read More
Workplace character is a necessary part of character development. It is imperative for staff to adhere to moral guides that allows them to freely strive for the highest form of character.
The 11 Principles sets a wonderful example for cultivating good character in all environments. These principles are valuable in schools, workplaces, homes, and sport teams. They set a blueprint for people to create spaces where positive character is fertilized daily.Read More
Stories are the original edutainment out of which all cultures flow. Before we had TVs, social media, books and formal plays we had stories. Families and communities would gather and listen to stories from elders. They would sing them, set them to music and dance, draw them, and most importantly enact them so that the essential values would be communicated and preserved.Read More