What's Happening in Character?

Rob McManamy

Recent Posts

Why are Sports Valuable for Our Kids?

Posted by Rob McManamy on Fri, Feb 20, 2015 @ 15:02 PM

by Rob McManamy

Okay, that’s it. I now have to say something about the maddening Little League World Series cheating scandal that saw Chicago’s Jackie Robinson West (JRW) team, the first-ever national champion team comprised entirely of African-Americans, stripped of its title for knowingly violating geographic rules for recruiting players. 

What was the last straw for me? When Rev. Jesse Jackson was reported to have said, “You don’t have to be guilty to be crucified.”

In reference to a team named after an honest-to-goodness African-American hero, he equated JRW’s trials to that of Jesus Christ.

Let’s follow the suggested analogy for a moment. If the innocent young members of the JRW team represent “Jesus” here, then who exactly is playing the role of “Judas”? Who betrayed the team?

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Topics: Character in Sports,, McManamy Rob

Olympic Illusions: Is Character One of Them?

Posted by Rob McManamy on Fri, Mar 14, 2014 @ 13:03 PM

Olympism is a philosophy of life, exalting and combining in a balanced whole the qualities of body, will and mind. Blending sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good example, social responsibility and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.
(‘Fundamental Principles of Olympism’, IOC, Olympic Charter, Sept. 9, 2013)
http://www.olympic.org/Documents/olympic_charter_en.pdf

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Teaching animal appreciation: a pathway to character

Posted by Rob McManamy on Fri, Mar 14, 2014 @ 13:03 PM

by Zoe Weil

President, Institute for Humane Education

What should character education teach students about kindness to animals?

At first, the answer to this question might seem obvious: people of good character treat nonhuman animals with respect and consideration; therefore, we should educate students to be compassionate and responsible citizens in relation to other species. Role models for good character, such as Albert Schweitzer and Mahatma Gandhi, articulate clear responsibilities toward animals. Gandhi went so far as to say, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” 

But it’s not that simple.

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Topics: moral character, virtues, compassion, empathy

How to Become a Socially Inclusive School

Posted by Rob McManamy on Sun, Mar 2, 2014 @ 17:03 PM

By Dr. Maurice Elias, Director

Social-Emotional Learning Lab, Rutgers University

IN ITS COMPREHENSIVE CASE STUDY OF SOCIALLY INCLUSIVE SCHOOLS, Special Olympics' Project UNIFY (3) identified the common factors across schools that had created a bridge from social inclusion programs to a genuinely positive school climate. The case study findings are here (4), and I'm also going to share with you key lessons learned that reflect my own work in fostering inclusive settings.

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Topics: leadership, social-emotional learning, inclusiveness

H.O.P.E. - Souls, Minds and Hearts, All Beating as One

Posted by Rob McManamy on Mon, Feb 10, 2014 @ 14:02 PM

Conference By Maricarmen Esper, author, speaker, character educator

As we all agree, character education is the main and essential part of education around the world. If we want a world with high ethics, virtues and peace, then governments, schools, families and communities all must promote, educate, evaluate, and try so hard to work for it.

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Topics: core values, international summit, ethics, peace

The Character of George Bailey

Posted by Rob McManamy on Fri, Dec 20, 2013 @ 10:12 AM

Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” is often dismissed as just another sentimental, feel-good Christmas classic. But, in my opinion, it contains one of the most gripping and compelling dramatic scenes ever captured on film.

As Christmas Eve revelers drink and laugh in a crowded tavern filled with festive music, the camera slowly zooms in on a desperate man at the bar, George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart). He is an extraordinarily good man, but at this dark moment, he is facing ruin, scandal and jail, none of it deserved. Talking to himself and staring down at his drink, he whispers to himself, “Dear Father in Heaven, I’m not a praying man. But if you’re up there and you can hear me, show me the way. I’m at the end of my rope. Show me the way, God.”

This harrowing close-up comes two thirds through this 1946 film that is still so familiar to so many of us. Indeed, some might say too familiar. Indeed, so many of us have watched this movie over the years—or passed on multiple opportunities to do so—that more than a few now roll their eyes at the prospect of committing two-plus hours to a syrupy, 67-year- old, black-&-white parable.

But if you’ve never seen "It’s a Wonderful Life," or have not watched it again since you started caring about character education, then let me suggest that you set aside the time to do so this year.

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Topics: character, core values

When Hate Speech Goes Unchallenged

Posted by Rob McManamy on Fri, Nov 22, 2013 @ 11:11 AM

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

                                                                   George Santayana

When the Spanish philosopher and essayist penned those memorable
words in 1905, he was actually adapting an older quote from the British statesman Edmund Burke, who had observed in the 18th Century that “those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.”

With apologies to both gentlemen, I would like to adapt the phrase
yet again for the 21st Century: “Those who don’t teach history all but
guarantee that it will be repeated.”

I feel moved to write those words this week as we mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on Friday, Nov. 22.

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Topics: teachable moments, JFK, teaching history

School Safety Summit Recap Part 2

Posted by Rob McManamy on Mon, Nov 11, 2013 @ 14:11 PM

School Safety Summit a weighty, timely success: Impresses importance of crisis management plans
Part 2 of a blog reporting on CEP’s 2013 National School Safety Summit on October 24th. The summit included presentations and discussions which largely fell into two broad categories: preventing violence with improved school climate and engagement, and crisis management responses to active situations of violence. See part 1 on school climate and stakeholder engagement

Meeting in the wake of yet another school shooting—this one in Sparks, NV—speakers and attendees at CEP’s first-ever ‘School Safety Summit’ Oct. 24 in Washington, D.C., rallied around the ideas of  greater student engagement, wider community involvement and more robust support from the federal government.

“We are gathered here today with school violence again in the news,” noted John Barry, former superintendent of Aurora (CO) Public Schools. “From the 12-year-old who shot a teacher in Nevada to the 14-year-old who stabbed a teacher in Massachusetts this week, we are reminded that unfortunately, all of our jobs now must include training in crisis management.”

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Topics: character education, school safety, school shootings, school shooting

School Safety Summit Recap: Part 1

Posted by Rob McManamy on Fri, Nov 8, 2013 @ 07:11 AM

Part 1 of a blog reporting on CEP’s 2013 National School Safety Summit on Oct. 24. The summit included presentations and discussions which largely fell into two broad categories: preventing violence with improved school climate and engagement, and crisis management responses to active situations of violence. Look for the second part on crisis management and active shooter situations in coming days.

School safety promoted by engaging students, parents and promoting dialogue

Meeting in the wake of yet another school shooting—this one in Sparks, NV—speakers and attendees at CEP’s first-ever School Safety Summit Oct. 24 in Washington, D.C., rallied around the ideas of  greater student engagement, wider community involvement and more robust support from the federal government.

Dr. Michele Borba, the first speaker at the summit, said school safety is not only about preparing for a crisis—it’s about creating a safe school climate where bullying is reduced and students trust faculty and staff. Since most school shooters tell someone (usually a peer) before the event, creating trusting relationships with adults and mechanisms for students to anonymously report threats can make huge strides in preventing a tragedy.

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Topics: character education, school climate, Borba Michele, school safety, school shootings

Heroes On and Off the Screen

Posted by Rob McManamy on Fri, May 17, 2013 @ 10:05 AM

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Topics: key lessons, leadership, integrity