Over 15 years of experience in diverse Human Resources disciplines coupled with family, school, and social environments have shaped and grounded my core character skills. I am often center stage for myriads of conversations on how best to identify key character or social skills for student and adult learners. Yet, organizations and schools tend to prioritize academic and professional competencies as the dominant requisites for impactful life and workplace success. Likewise, exhibitions of noble character skills directly correlate to workplace success.Read More
What's Happening in Character?
As I sit and stare at this super-bright screen and this starkly-blank sheet, I’m feeling unsure that my words can do my feelings justice as I count down the days to this year’s annual Forum.
I first attended the National Forum as a vendor with my friends at Character Counts! in 2004 because it was held in Houston near my home. I won’t ever forget the incredible networking opportunity to listen and understand how character educators were weaving core values into the very fabric of their character building. I left that Forum fired up to lead the charge that would reignite the embers our community stakeholders had set aglow back in 1987. That was when a group of 120 concerned citizens decided on fourteen virtues that would serve as the foundation while we strived to educate the whole child.Read More
3 letter acronyms (along with selfie’s, snapchats, and poop emoji’s) are taking over the world.
Instead of running from this phenomenon, I’ve decided to add my contribution to the mix.
“BCQ!” Build. Connection. Quickly. Let me explain…
When I’m speaking to students in schools, (schools just like your schools) many days I’ll ask…
“How many of you, when you heard you were coming down to the auditorium to hear a ‘motivational speaker,’ thought to yourself, ‘this is going to be the longest 45 min’s of my life?’”
Nearly every hand shoots up in the air. It’s like I’m at an auction and EVERYONE is bidding.
As Chairman of the National Family Engagement Alliance, I spend a lot of time thinking about how educators can foster an educational environment that encourages meaningful family involvement. Every day, we work towards the development of positive and trusting relationships between educators, parents, students, and community advocates. For educators, it’s important to be a guiding force for the development of character in young people, and it’s essential to ensure those lessons are reinforced at home and practiced in everyday life.Read More
I’m not an especially eloquent or elegant writer. Others would undoubtedly do a far better job at communicating these thoughts. Especially as I try to convey a topic that is so personally emotional and still a little raw.
Houston is my hometown.
If you didn’t grow up there, it is difficult to imagine the sheer scale of this month’s catastrophic flooding due to Hurricane Harvey. It wasn’t just parts of Houston that were impacted. Every part of Houston was impacted. Every major highway in and out of town was flooded. In a county larger than some U.S. states, every suburb received nearly 30 inches of rain --- some areas got more than 50.Read More
Ever imagine what the ideal character education experience would look like? Would it take place in a fully immersive, active skill building, natural consequence-rich and inclusive learning environment? Would it be full of genuine challenge, struggle and accomplishment to help kids develop a robust sense of self-worth?
In fact, it can be all of these things. Outward Bound has been facilitating these physically immersive learning experiences for over 70 years, worldwide. Additionally it offers expeditionary style, wilderness-based learning courses. We at Outward Bound Baltimore Chesapeake Bay teach character one student at a time through our Appalachian Trail backpacking, Potomac River canoeing, and Chesapeake Bay kayaking expeditions. We partner with Chesapeake region schools to provide a unique learning environment where students are in charge of their struggles, their accomplishments, their learning and their growth.
Character building happens one decision at a time. It doesn’t happen TO people; it is ACTIVELY self-initiated.Read More
Immigration is a hot national issue that commands many headlines, but seldom is there a spotlight on meeting the challenges of teaching the children of these “new immigrants.” Some enterprising National Schools of Character from New Jersey and New York took steps this summer to open up this conversation.Read More
As the world seems more and more divided, it has never been more important to take a look at what connects us. Join us for the fourth annual Character Day on September 13, 2017! Last year there were over 93,000 Character Day events in 124 countries and all 50 states.
Character Day is a free day and global initiative where school districts, individual classrooms, companies, organizations, and families -- groups of all sizes -- screen films on the science of character development from different perspectives, dive into free printed discussion materials catered to different ages, and join an online global Q&A conversation featuring prominent leaders discussing the importance of developing character strengths (resilience, grit, empathy, courage, kindness)--all rooted in evidence-based research. Character Day is one day. The resources are available year-round. Please watch the 1 minute trailer and sign up today(takes 2 mins)!Read More
The issue of fake news speaks to the core of any character education agenda because it threatens our ability to be informed, civil contributors to social discourse. Unfortunately, fake news is not as straightforward an issue as we would like it to be. An example will help us understand the challenge we face in this area.Read More
As parents, we have many hopes for our kids. We want them to grow up to live happy, successful lives. We hope they'll find love, maybe have kids of their own, and pursue their dreams. But at the bottom of all these wishes is the hope that our kid turns into a decent human being -- someone who is kind, respectful, and honest.
How do you bolster these strengths as well as teach key skills such as teamwork, communication, and perseverance? For the most part, kids will learn these things by following your example and through experience gained at school and in their communities. But media is another entry point. Since movies, TV shows, books, video games, and social media are such a huge part of kids' lives, it makes sense that kids can learn important lessons about character through media.Read More