At the end of May, I finished my 34th year of serving as a public-school educator. This hard truth that my time in school had come to an end rapidly washed over me as I retired from that role. This summer, as I’ve been reflecting on my glorious career that found me growing alongside every single developmental age and stage (from Pre-K to 12th grade), I think back through many changes and feel grateful for the one constant that anchored my soul, and kept me joyfully connected: Character.Read More
What's Happening in Character?
Putting Character into Innovation
If it’s true, as Alan Kay said, that “The best way to predict the future is to invent it,” then how do we do that? More importantly, how do we help our students do that?
For many years I conducted a student workshop called Being Your Own Futurist that helped students design the future using two methods of envisioning technological innovation: the linear approach, which focused on incremental innovation; and the intersecting circles approach, which focused on how existing technologies are combined to form new tech, often with disruptive impacts. In this issue I focus on the linear approach.Read More
Think about something that you love to do! Perhaps it is reading a good book, playing a video game, being in nature, spending time with your family, or eating a decadent chocolate treat. Does anyone need to give you a sticker, pay you some money, or give you an award for doing what you love to do? Of course not! That’s because you are “intrinsically motivated” to do so.Read More
What are you bracing against?
Relax, you’re going to be criticized.
The title of this practice is a little tongue-in-cheek. What I mean is, most of us – me included – spend time worrying about criticism: past, present, and even future. Yes, try hard, keep agreements, “don’t be evil,” etc. But sooner or later – usually sooner – someone is going to point out the error in your ways. Often in subtle versions that still have an implicit criticism, such as giving advice, helping or teaching when you don’t really need it, making corrections, comparing you negatively to others, or focusing on the one tile in the mosaic of your actions that’s problematic while staying mum about the 99 other good tiles.Read More
A few months after my oldest son was born, I felt confident and on top of the world. The months prior to his birth, I gradually added to my toolbox and researched everything from sleep training and homemade baby food to the language I would use when he played independently and interacted with others. I would let him make mistakes, but I would also use praise centered around the character traits I valued most. I was an assistant principal and similar to my school’s mission, I would teach my son to be self-motivated. I would teach my son to think critically. I would model for him the value in helping others. I would teach him the value and joy of lifelong learning. As a family, we will take him to art museums, restaurants, playdates, zoos, and parks.Read More
Lyles-Crouch Traditional Academy, a K-5 public elementary school in historic Old Town Alexandria, Virginia today serves a diverse population with students coming from all socio-economic levels and countries of origin. Built in 1958 for African American students during the time of segregation, the building underwent a transformation in 2000 to attract other community members to the school. With the “traditional academy model” came a focus on strong academic achievement and the use of character education to set the moral compass for the students.Read More
Is it necessary to have core ethical values in place to create a caring work environment? When employers and employees exhibit genuine care for one another, they thrive and are able to produce successful results. We interviewed John Horan, a successful Real Estate Broker/Developer in North Central Florida who has owned and operated multiple businesses, to delve into why Principles 1 and 4 of the Eleven Principles are relevant to maintaining a successful work environment.
Sports, like golf, provide the opportunity for kids to gain exposure to core values and life lessons that that can help in competition, but also in everyday life.Read More
Since childhood, many of us have acquired the art of project management. From pursuing hobbies, to managing relatives and other things that comprise of basic learning, we have learned how to be project managers in one way or the other.Read More
The other day, I was walking home with my kids from school when a boy in my daughter’s class yelled, ”Goodbye” to her. I watched as her little frame looked at him, shrugged and turned away to keep walking. I was shocked. As we continued walking, I asked her why she didn’t wave or respond to the boy, but she just shrugged her shoulders. I don’t think she fully understood what she was doing or why, so I determined to help her have a clear understanding on how our actions affect others.Read More