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Character Education

The Golden Rule
The Golden Rule sounds so simple, doesn’t it? “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” You would think it would be easy to be nice to other people all the time, just as you want them to be nice to you. It would be a great world if we were all people of good character. Good character means understanding, caring about, and acting with good values.

But think about it, do other people treat you the way you want them to? Are people nice to you all the time? Are they acting with good character? Are you? Why not? Maybe it’s because people have forgotten how to be nice. Maybe it’s because people don’t think it’s important to be a good person.

In school you learn that it’s important to study hard and do well. It’s important to try to be good at whatever you do – sports, plays, choir, and competitions of all kinds. But do we also learn that it’s important to be good at being a person? Do your classes in school teach you about how to be someone who cares about other people? Should your school’s job be to give you knowledge, or should school also show you how to use that knowledge in a caring way?

Schools give lots of awards to kids who get great grades and to those who are terrific athletes. But what about the kids who have really good character? What about kids who may or may not get great grades but who are really nice people? Your character – the part of you that shows what kind of person you are – counts. It may not win you awards, but if you have good character you will probably be a much happier person. People of good character understand that you should be a good person, not because of what it will get for you, but because it is the right thing to do. Your goodness is its own reward. Your character determines how you see and treat yourself and others.

It’s All About You!
The best part about working on your character is that you have the power to be the kind of person you want to be. All the choices are yours to make, and no one can take this power from you. It’s not like some other parts of your life that you don’t have control over. YOUR CHARACTER COUNTS … AND IT’S ALL UP TO YOU.

It’s not easy to be a person of good character. It takes thought and, sometimes, courage to do what is right. But if you take the time to learn about character and if you care about who you are, who you really are, well, inside, you will get the amazing reward of knowing that you are the best person you can be. The time will be worth it as you learn that your character counts – and counts more than anything else about you.

Think about your character. What are some of the qualities that make people who they are? Those qualities include compassion, trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, justice, and citizenship. You can choose to make each one a part of your everyday life as you learn to treat other people the way you want them to treat you. You and your classmates will want to have lots of discussions about character issues and what they mean. As the class talks, be sure to listen respectfully to what is said so that everyone feels comfortable giving opinions. Good listening is an important part of building a caring community.

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