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Why Character Education Matters

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This short article seeks to make the case for why character education matters.  Have you ever wondered who is responsible for teaching character to our society in this day and age? And even more importantly, who is responsible for teaching character to our youth? Is it the household? Is it the media or our entertainment industry? Or is it our educational system?

It seems that for far too long, a child’s character education has been relegated to the confines of their household. Unfortunately, data shows us that parents are spending less and less time with their children these days. As such, the odds that the small amount of time that parents are spending with their children is focused on conversations leading to the development of good character, are minimal.

Sadly, children are all too often left with either learning their character traits from friends or from movies and TV. And the likelihood that they are learning any good character traits from these two sources is indeed quite small. It is doubtful in today’s world of heightened violence and instant gratification, that children are being exposed to the appropriate amounts of life benefiting character education.  Appropriate amounts being to the degree that it will influence the positive results that we seek for our society as a whole. An example of the positive results referred to would be a country that doesn’t come to the brink of economic collapse due to the acts of unscrupulous bankers, mortgage professionals, and politicians. Or positive results that leads to a society that doesn’t unethically invade a country on false pretenses, or torture its enemies of war.  And a more realistic example, would be to see character education as remedy of sorts for some of the social decay that seems to becoming more and more apparent when we watch the news.

Character is the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual. And when and individual has character, we usually view them as having moral or ethical strength. Or better put, it is having the internal strength to do what is right.  If we as a society don’t educate our young people on the traits of good character, or why good character is important, how can we expect that they put any value on character, or expect them to express good character traits as they become adults? It is time for us to become conscientious with our decisions for improving society. The best way to do this, it for us to begin formally teaching our students character at school.

In our current education system, character building is not focused on for any of the common core standards.  In addition, according to a 2013 Gallup Poll, showing what soft skills most Americans think should be taught in school, only 51% of believed that character education.  Character Education was the lowest on the list.

character education soft skills poll

Therefore, we must encourage the adoption of character education, and the use of character education resources in our schools. Students need to understand why it is important to have good character, and have teachers who are prepared to assist them in the development of it. If we do this, we have a chance to truly affect positive change now and especially in the future. Unfortunately; if we do nothing, we can’t expect much change for the better, in fact, we may even experience more fall out from what appears to be a growing social decay, and this is why character education matters.

What’s your say on character education?

 

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by Nathan Lee

Nathan holds an MBA, has blogged on entrepreneurship, leadership, and business for the past decade, has served in a leadership role for one of the largest Non-Profit Organizations within the Financial Education Industry, and has a sincere passion for education and inspiring potential.

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