Character is much in the news of late—or should I say its lack as the country reels from rioting protestors, rising crime rates, and right on up to the highest echelons of government on BOTH sides of the aisle.
As Arthur Schwartz, president of Character.org writes, “Joe Biden wants to make this election about character. And why not? Even The Wall Street Journal editorial board recently opined that, ‘Mr. Trump can’t win a character contest with Mr. Biden.’”
(Let me add that Biden couldn’t win such a contest either if honesty still counts.)
Meanwhile, Schwartz continues by saying, “Character is having its moment. But not when it comes to either party’s platform.”
Nor, I must say, when it comes to their across the board performance, ether.
As he puts it, “A pox on both their houses. Collectively we’re devaluing the virtues of kindness, fairness, honesty, and respect at a rapid pace, and individuals are no longer striving for them.”
Here’s some more from his piece, “What the Election Says about Character Education: Character Development Deserves More Attention in Our Schools.”
** “Most schools, in ways large and small, serve as bulwarks against this trend. Teachers and school leaders have always believed their professional mission extends far beyond teaching a child to write a sentence or multiply. My own children, now adults, have recently shared with me that so many of their teachers tried their best to model and foster honesty, caring, and curiosity in their classrooms.”
** “But let’s not kid ourselves. By the time most students get to high school, they have learned that getting good grades (or just getting by) is far more important than goodness-in-action. Recent research on academic dishonesty reflects a disturbing ‘it’s all about me’ youth culture. It’s OK to lie, steal, or cheat to get a good grade or stay out of trouble. It’s just how the game is played. Moreover, this level of dishonest behavior doesn’t end when students graduate from high school or college. Lying, stealing, and cheating in the workplace is also a rampant problem.”
** “Character education is not easy. First, we can never forget that parents and families are a child’s first character educator. Children learn kindness, taking responsibility, and fairness within the context of their family.”
** “Our nation needs to invest more in the character development of our children and teenagers. We need leadership at the federal, state, and local levels. Every school should identify a set of core values that reflect the school’s highest priorities and establishes a common language to teach, model, and integrate these character strengths into all aspects of school life. We need civic leaders who encourage coaches to focus more on the virtues of sportsmanship and teamwork than wins and losses. We also need employers and workplace leaders who embrace the expression ‘Hire for character. Train for skill.”
As J.C. Watts reminds us: “Character, after all, is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking.”
Add “Live and let live” and the Golden Rule, and we’re good to go… ~ Carol