What is Character Day?
Character Day is tomorrow, Thursday, September 22. The beauty of it is that it can be whatever you want it to be! It is the day to have conversations about character, to hold an event or kick off a new initiative. It’s a great day to connect with others in your community to learn about their commitment to character. Tomorrow is a great opportunity to use the Character Day films and discussions as a powerful catalyst for reflection.
While we believe that every day is Character Day, it’s nice to set this day aside to spread the message to a new group or to focus in and begin a longer-term conversation. Part of the beauty of Character Day is you can develop an event around just about anything related to character. In fact, this year, Character.org D.C. staff decided we wished we knew our neighbors better, so we’re holding an open house on Character Day to get to know one another.
While we always like flexible approaches, maybe you’re looking to learn more specifics about Character Day and get some ideas for how to celebrate.
The History of Character Day
I asked Makenzie Darling, Event Producer for Character Day to tell us about the history:
Three years ago, Let it Ripple Film Studio, created an 8-minute film called the The Science of Character which highlighted the neuroscience behind character development and Growth Mindset. They decided to try an experiment where they would hold a global film premier to showcase this work, while offering free discussion materials to help the conversation progress around who are we and who do we want to be in the world? Character Day was born with over 1,500 events worldwide!
Last year Character Day saw over 6,700 events in schools, classrooms, and organizations with people joining in from 125 countries and two new films: The Adaptable Mind and Making of a Mensch (10 minutes).
Third Annual Character Day
And it keeps growing! This year has seen tremendous expansion. So far over 80,000 groups have signed up to participate in 2016 Character Day.
How Can You Participate?
Even if you haven’t signed up, it’s not too late to take action and plan something today for Character Day.
- Watch the videos: Character Day can be a day for personal reflection. Watch the videos and reflect on your own strength areas and those you want to grow. Ask questions like: Who am I? Who do I want to be in the world? Or, how can I develop those character strengths (resilience, grit, empathy, courage, humor, curiosity, etc.)? Keep a journal or commit to reflecting on your progress each day.
- Follow along online: You can join the global video conversation at any time on Character Day to learn about resources and tips from a variety of organizations and how we can work together to improve our world.
- Hold an event: It doesn’t have to be big or complicated but see if you can gather a group to watch one or more of the films and have a discussion about character.
Makenzie told us:
Your Character Day event can look and feel any way you would like it to be…..any time of the day, anywhere and any size. Some schools do campus-wide assemblies, other teachers do specific events in their classrooms. Companies and organizations plan short events throughout the day. The creativity is up to you, and the materials are all free (Films, Periodic Table of Character Strengths poster, printed discussion materials, a robust online hub of resources and lessons plans and an online conversation with leading experts on Character education from multiple perspectives).
So, let your inspiration be your guide and have a great Character Day!
Sora Wondra has been with Character.org since 2013 and assists with development and advancement efforts. Prior to joining Character.org, Sora taught in the U.S. and also in the Republic of Georgia, where she conducted research on education reform. She has an M.Phil. in Education from the University of Cambridge and a B.A. in Psychology from Coe College. Sora is a member of the Pi Lambda Theta Education Society, has been a Cambridge Overseas Trust Scholar, and is a recipient of the Linnie E. Schloeman Prize in Teacher Education Excellence at Coe College. When she’s not working or otherwise fighting the good education fight, Sora enjoys backpacking and mountaineering with her husband and golden retriever.
Want to keep the conversation going after Character Day? Join us at the National Forum on Character Education in Washington, DC Oct 14-15 for more great discussions and resources around Character in your community!