Grit, self-control, curiosity. These are all qualities we undoubtedly wish to instill in our students. With curricular demands continuing to grow, the time we have to devote to character education sadly seems to dwindle.
But can we develop the best and the brightest without devoting sufficient time to character education? Even if we could, what would strong academic capability look like with weak character? This reminds me of one of William Penn’s quotes on government, which says, “Let men be good, and the government cannot be bad; if it be ill, they will cure it. But if men be bad, let the government be never so good, they will endeavor to warp and spoil it to their turn.”
I think many would agree with the notion that even the most idealistic government in the world is destined to fail when those who run it do so with a dearth of character, albeit the greatest of minds.
So do we do our students, our nation, our world a favor by forgoing a commitment to character development to focus on academic rigor? How do we balance it all? Although I can’t answer the latter question, I do think I’ve come across a resource that points us in the right direction. Robert Kalman caught my eye when he posted about Character Lab, a non-profit organization “on a mission to develop, disseminate, and support research-based approaches to character that enable kids to learn and flourish.”
Check it out here!