OBSERVATION: U.S. Senate on character: Senate Resolution 2012

Whereas the well-being of the United States requires that the young people of the United States become an involved, caring citizenry of good character; Whereas the character education of children has become more urgent, as violence by and against youth increasingly threatens the physical and psychological well-being of the people of the United States; Whereas, more than ever, children need …

OBSERVATION: President Barack Obama on CHARACTER COUNTS! Week

Presidential Proclamation NATIONAL CHARACTER COUNTS WEEK, 2012 With every step in our journey toward a more perfect Union, Americans have drawn strength from the values that bind us together as one people. Personal integrity, mutual respect, commitment to service — these timeless ideals have guided our Nation’s progress for centuries, inspiring us not only to see the best in each …

OBSERVATION: George W. Bush on the importance of character education

Yes, we want our children to be smart and successful. But even more, we want them to be good and kind and decent. Yes, our children must learn how to make a living. But even more they must learn how to live, and what to love. Something is lost when the moral message of schools is mixed and muddled. Many children …

COMMENTARY 779.1: Dying From the Cold Within

One of the great challenges to our humanity is acknowledging and overcoming our natural tendency to think less of and discriminate against people who are different than us racially, ethnically, religiously or ideologically. Despite persistent rhetoric about prizing diversity, political debates often reflect disdain and contempt for those we disagree with and prejudices of all sorts are more readily stated.  …

COMMENTARY: The Seven Cs of Character 756.2

As you consider your goals for the New Year, I hope you’ll think about working on your character. No, you’re not too old and I don’t mean to imply you’re a bad person. As I’ve said often, “you don’t have to be sick to get better.” In fact, it’s a lot easier to make a good person better than a …

COMMENTARY 751.2: What Is Character?

Here’s a riddle: You can hardly ever find it anymore — especially in politics or business. Lots of schools don’t teach it anymore. We want more of it in our children and in all the adults who interact with them. We want it from our bosses and the people who fix our cars. And most of us believe we have …

WORTH READING: THE ASPEN DECLARATION. In July 1992, the Josephson Institute of Ethics hosted a summit in Aspen, Colorado bringing together ethicists, educators and youth-service professionals to identify shared ethical values that could be the foundation of character education programs. The result was the Aspen Declaration, the seminal document for the CHARACTER COUNTS! movement which presently engages about 7 million children and families worldwide. (click to see the Declaration)

Click to see 12′ x 25′ mural by Nadi Spencer at Monson Sultana School in Tulare County, CA

COMMENTARY: Courtesy is Kindness in Action 749.3

As a society, we have become almost obsessed with identifying and asserting our rights – to think, say, and do what we want. That’s not surprising, given the history of our country and the prominent role the Constitution and Bill of Rights have played in shaping our culture. We have a right to be unkind, thoughtless, and disrespectful – but …

COMMENTARY: We Are What We Think 746.4

In the early 1900s, a little-known philosopher named James Allen wrote a powerful essay called “As a Man Thinketh” in which he argued that we are what we think, that a person’s character is the sum of his thoughts. He declared that the power to control our thoughts (whether we use that power or not) is the ability to mold …