“Moral education is not a new idea. It is, in fact, as old as education itself. Down through history, in countries all over the world, education has had two great goals: to help young people become smart and to help them become good.” Dr. Thomas Lickona, author of Education for Character
Good character is not formed automatically; it is developed over time through a sustained process of teaching, example, learning and practice.
It is developed through character education. The intentional teaching of good character is particularly important in today’s society since our youth face many opportunities and dangers unknown to earlier generations. They are bombarded with many more negative influences through the media and other external sources prevalent in today’s culture. At the same time, there are many more day-to-day pressures impinging on the time that parents and children have together. Studies show that children spend only 38.5 minutes a week (33.4 hours a year) in meaningful conversation with their parents, while they spend 1,500 hours watching television. (American Family Research Council, 1990 and Harper’s, November 1999.) Since children spend about 900 hours a year in school, it is essential that schools resume a proactive role in assisting families and communities by developing caring, respectful environments where students learn core, ethical values. In order to create our schools as the caring and respectful communities we know they can be, we must look deeper. We must be intentional, proactive and comprehensive in our work to encourage the development of good character in young people.