COMMENTARY: Working to Teach Character Together

When I talk to parents and teachers about the role of schools in teaching character someone usually points out that character development is and should be the primary concern of parents. Who can argue with that? Many of the attitudes and habits that make up character are learned at home. But they’re learned elsewhere as well — on the school …

COMMENTARY: The Power of Kindness

I’ve mentioned before that, despite my great admiration for people who are instinctively and consistently kind, kindness does not come naturally to me. Yet the older I get, the more I agree with Abraham Heschel, who said, “When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people.” Henry James was more emphatic when …

COMMENTARY: “You’re Only Cheating Yourself”

It’s in the news all the time – kids are cheating in school in new ways and at unprecedented rates. One of the reasons is the way schools and parents deal with or ignore the underlying issues of integrity and character. For instance, to discourage kids from cheating, adults commonly say, “You’re only cheating yourself.”

COMMENTARY: The Disease of Low Expectations

The serious damage done to our economy, social institutions, and personal relationships by widespread cheating and dishonesty is bad enough. But widespread acceptance of such behavior as inevitable threatens to make our future a lot worse. In effect, our culture is being infected by a disease: the disease of low expectations.

COMMENTARY: Making the Best of Family Relationships

For most of us, there’s something both wonderful and worrisome about large family gatherings. On the good side, we often can experience real pleasure in spending time with relatives with whom we have so many common memories. What’s more, being with parents, siblings, and cousins who have known us since childhood often helps us see ourselves

COMMENTARY: The Guy in the Glass

Years ago I came across a poem entitled “The Man in the Glass” by Dale Wimbrow. I looked it up on the Internet and discovered a website maintained by his children that contains the original version written in 1934 and published in The American Magazine as “The Guy in the Glass.”