Last week we celebrated Character Day along with 90,000 organizations in 124 countries around the world. It has been exciting to watch the exponential growth of Character Day in just three years. Clearly there is interest in the idea of character and momentum is building.In Tiffany Schlain’s Character Day movie “The Science of Character,” she inserts this quote that she attributes to Frank Outlaw. “Watch your thoughts. They become words. Watch your words. They become deeds. Watch your deeds. They become habits. Watch your habits. They become character. Character is everything.”
What does this mean? Just like we tell our schools, character education works best when there is intentionality about it. What core values or virtues do you want to work on? What do they look like? How do you do them? Set your intentions to get better. Use mindfulness. Start each day thinking about what sort of character you want to have.
Also, just we tell our schools, it must be systemic. It’s not just one little act of kindness. It needs to be infused in all you do. When I was growing up, we always had to put on our “Sunday clothes” to go to church. But you don’t want to have just one day a week for good character. How do you infuse character into everything you do? You do this through reflection and practice.
What if we woke up every morning, and said, “Today is Character Day! I am going to be the best person I can be.” Would that change the world for the better? We won’t know unless we try with intentionality and you can do this every day:
- Start with mindfulness. Be aware every day that your actions and words mean something. They are important.
- Set your own core values. What is is that you choose to live by?
- Reflect each night. Before bed, think about your actions and words. Did you live by your core values?
Little by little you'll notice your own character shaping. Let’s make every day character day.
Want to continue the conversations and begin your journey to make every day Character Day? Join us at the National Forum for Character Education in Washington, DC October 14-15.