COMMENTARY 768.3: Shaping Values, Shaping Lives

Blessed with the opportunities and burdened with the aggravations of raising four teenage daughters , my wife Anne and I are profoundly aware of the importance of instilling good values and decision-making skills to help them be safe, successful, happy, and good.

I think we’re doing a good job, but we know that isn’t enough. We worry about the values and character of other parents’ kids who may befriend, date, or marry our girls. And we worry about what our kids will learn in classrooms, playgrounds, and sports fields about things like honesty and honor, respect and responsibility, kindness and compassion, and service and self-discipline.

Although conscientious parents attentive to the moral education of their children can do a great deal to lay a solid foundation of positive values, lessons taught at home will be either reinforced or undermined by teachers, coaches, and others. Quite simply, when we shape values, we shape lives.

We can’t be value-neutral when we interact with kids because everything we say and do sends a message about what we believe and what we value, and these messages are part of the character-development process. If we refuse to promote positive values, we inadvertently demean them.

That’s why I’m such an ardent advocate of purposeful and pervasive values education. I want all the adults who help shape the attitudes and habits of my children to consciously and competently teach, enforce, advocate, and model positive character traits like trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship – the Six Pillars of Character.

This is a great opportunity for you to consider whether schools in your area, or organizations you’re involved with, could be more directly involved in this vital effort.

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts

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