Character Matters

By Becky Sipos, President & CEO

David Brooks, NY Times columnist and 2013 Forum keynote speaker, wrote in a that “Nearly every parent on earth operates on the assumption that character matters a lot to the life outcomes of their children. Nearly every government antipoverty program operates on the assumption that it doesn’t.” As he went on to stress the importance of character and noted the social research that shows its importance, I was cheering him on. I was still with him as he described research that shows that proper experiences can improve performance values such as resilience and self-control.
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Engaging Families and the Community in Your Character Education Efforts

By Rebecca Sipos

Last month I had the honor of presenting at New Jersey’s State Schools of Character Recognition Ceremony, and I got to hear a great keynote from Rutgers psychology professor Maurice Elias. One thing he said really surprised me. In talking with parents about the good things that come from good social-emotional-character programs, he asked them, “Isn’t that what we all want for our kids?” He got push back. “No,” some said, “We want rigorous academics…” Dr. Elias was startled. He reframed the question: “What sort of schools do you want for your grandchildren?” Then the reaction was much more in line with what he had expected. We want our grandchildren to experience a caring school community, but for our own kids, we are too concerned with their ability to compete.
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One World, Focused for Good

By Mark Hyatt, President & CEO, Character Education Partnership
As I sat down to write this year-end reflection, the news came across the wire that TIME had named Pope Francis as its 2013 Person of the Year. The magazine explained its choice this way: “With a focus on compassion, the leader of the Catholic Church has become a new voice of conscience… He took the name of a humble saint and then called for a church of healing.”

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