Saturday, May 3, 2008

A Successful Life Built Upon Good Character

The purpose of education is to help our children have a great life. That means education imparts practical skills. Some skills do not seem practical to some young people, like Algebra. Some skills might not seem practical to some adults, like character development.

For thousands of years successful civilizations have have taught math skills and character development to their youth.

When success is obtained by underhanded ways, that success is fleeting. We want our children's success to be a lasting success. When other people strive for success, we do not want their success to be at the expense of our children's future.

We need to emphasize that your success does not need to be at someone else's expense. A wise man said,

"To advance, help others to advance. If you desire success for yourself, then desire success for others." (Analect 6.28)

The Bible says, "...whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- think about such things." (Philippians 4:8)

Notice that Paul says "whatever." It is my belief, and I can quote a supporting scripture for this, that all true wisdom comes from God. There are many wise lessons from history and historical sources that are are unaffiliated with religion and therefore are appropriate for use in public education.

As I have mentioned earlier, Abraham Maslow has said, "Education must be seen as at least partially an effort to produce the good human being, to foster the good life and the good society."

I want to improve math and reading in the elementary schools, but we must include character education to foster the good life and the good society.

The early years, K-3, are the foundation for everything. We cannot stand on a 2 legged stool. We need 3 legs on our stool to stand upon it firmly and reach for greater heights:
1.) Better math
2.) Better reading
3.) Character development

Robert Canright

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