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By Dr. Arthur Schwartz 

This past week Character Lab announced that they will be sunsetting their operations in June. I’m bummed.

Over a decade ago, after Angela Duckworth’s research on grit became widely known, she co-founded the nonprofit Character Lab. The organization’s vision was to create a strong network of scholars who would lead — in collaboration with K-12 school leaders – research studies on a wide range of character strengths.

While the scholars have already published an incredible number of articles in peer-reviewed journals, their legacy and that of Character Lab will extend far beyond academic disciplines. 

Leveraging its research network, Character Lab has published over 200 “Tips of the Week.” I think I’ve read every tip. Why? Because each one is so beautifully written. Each week, I can’t wait to learn – in a 60-second read — how each contributor has connected a character strength to their own personal experience. Okay, I’m a fanboy. But I’m amazed how every tip vivifies Character Lab’s tagline: actionable advice for parents and teachers – based on science. 

Angela wrote the last tip for Character Lab. She begins by suggesting that there are three categories (or “families”) of character strengths. 

The “strengths of heart” are interpersonal, whether involving friends, family, neighbors, a nation, or our planet. Kindness. Gratitude. Honesty. Fairness. 

The “strengths of mind” are what philosophers call intellectual virtues. Curiosity. Judgment. Humility. Finally, the “strengths of will” are those strengths that enable us to achieve the goals we establish for ourselves. Self-control. Grit. Growth mindset.

Under the umbrella of these three “families” of character strengths, Character Lab has also published easy-to-use “Playbooks” on 15 different strengths. Each playbook is filled with evidence-based practices, high-quality videos, and “Tips of the Week” (each Playbook also includes an endnote highlighting pertinent research findings). 

Do you want to take a quick peek at a Playbook? Here are three Playbooks that speak to me: Gratitude. Decision Making. Self-Control.

Interested in reading a Tip of the Week that plucked my heartstrings or fired up my neurons? Here are three: How to Quiet Anxious Thoughts. The Problem with Perfectionism. The Surprising Benefits of Creativity

On behalf of the Character.org board and staff, I want to take this opportunity to thank Angela and all current and past staff members, researchers, funders, and board members who contributed to Character Lab’s 10-year success and impact. The scholarship, wisdom, and useful tips are enduring gifts that will inspire and equip parents and educators for years to come. You are all champions for character.  

Note: Character Lab’s content will continue to be available at characterlab.org.

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