Building Good
University of Scouting
November 9, 2013
Dr. Thomas Lickona
Center for the 4th and 5th Rs
SUNY Cortland
PowerPoint available on website
Reader’s Digest (Dec., 1995)
Lost Wallet Study
1,100 wallets were “lost”—each with
$50 and the owner’s ID and phone
Wallets were left on sidewalks, and in
phone booths; in front of office
buildings, discount stores, and
churches; and in parking lots and
• 56% were returned with
the contacts intact.
• 44% were not.
Wallets Returned
Norway & Denmark
New Zealand
Australia & Japan
U.S. & England
France & Holland
Taiwan & Malaysia
Switzerland & Italy
100% returned
Wallets Returned, U.S. Cities
• Seattle: 90%
• Concord, NH & Cheyenne, WO:
• St. Louis, Boston, & Greensboro, NC
• Houston, Las Vegas, and Dayton, OH
Culture matters.
• Culture shapes character.
• If we shape the culture, we
can shape the character.
Wallet returners cited:
Parents teaching them to “do
the right thing.”
• Their religious beliefs.
• Empathy for the wallet’s owner.
Do you wish to learn the trees as the forester knows
them? Do you wish to have well-developed muscles,
not those of a great athlete, but those of a sound
body that will not fail you? Would you like to be an
expert camper who can always make himself
comfortable out of doors, and a swimmer that fears
no waters?
Do you desire the knowledge to help the wounded
quickly, and to make yourself cool and self-reliant in
an emergency? Do you believe in loyalty, courage,
and kindness? Would you like to form habits that will
surely make your success in life?
Then you belong in our ranks, for these are the
thoughts in Scouting.
—Boys Scouts of America Handbook, 1911
• Born in London, Robert Baden-Powell (18571941) joined the Army, was stationed in India
and Africa, and excelled in map-making,
scouting, and reconnaissance. He was soon
asked to train other soldiers in these methods.
• When he returned to England in 1903, he
found that his training handbook was being
used by youth leaders to teach youth the same
skills. He rewrote it as Scouting for Boys. It
has since been published in 35 languages.
Today Scouting serves 28 million boys
in 216 countries and territories.
“A Scout is never taken by surprise; he
knows exactly what to do when
anything unexpected happens.”
—Robert Baden-Powell
Does Scouting really
build character?
Merit Beyond the Badge
2012 Baylor University Study
• Since 1912, 4% of young men who
were Scouts have earned the rank of
• More than 2 million boys have
become Eagle Scouts.
Merit Beyond the Badge
• Poll conducted by Gallup. 81,409
potential respondents were contacted.
• Of those who agreed to do a telephone
interview, a random nationwide sample of
2,512 adults was selected.
– 134 were of the sample were Eagle Scouts
– 853 were Scouts but not Eagles
– 1,502 were non-Scouts
Eagle Scouts, as adults, were more likely than
other Scouts and non-Scouts to:
1. Have “extremely close” friends.
2. Have a disaster kit in their home.
3. Volunteer time to religious and non-religious org’s.
4. Work with neighbors to address a problem.
5. Be active in a group that protects the environment.
6. Have held a leadership position in the workplace
and in the community.
7. Believe it’s impt. to learn something new every day.
8. Report achieving a “personal goal” and a “spiritual
goal” in the past year.
9. Say they always try to exceed others’ expectations.
10. Say they always treat people of other religions
with respect.
Scouting is viewed by contemporary
researchers as an example of positive
youth development (PYD), which
focuses on building 5 C’s (competence,
confidence, character, connection, and
caring) that enable youth to contribute
to self, family, community, and society.
Tufts U. & Baylor U. 3-Year Study
• Does Cub Scouting affect the character,
health, and academic achievement of boys?
A new study will compare 7, 8, 9 and 10year-old boys in urban and rural areas, from
3 groups in and around Philadelphia:
– 36 randomly selected Cub Scout packs with
full-time executives to help train leaders,
recruit and retain youth, and fund raise
– 36 packs without full-time executives
– Comparable samples of non-Scout boys.
Why does
character matter?
You may fill your head with
knowledge or skillfully train
your hands, but unless it is
based on upright character, it
will amount to nothing.
—Booker T. Washington, American
Character is power.
—Booker T. Washington
• Good character=Virtues.
• Virtues are objectively good
human qualities—good for the
individual person and good for
Virtues are not mere thoughts,
but habits we develop by
performing virtuous actions.
Children develop character by
what they see, what they hear,
and what they are repeatedly
led to do.
—James Stenson
A Scout is:
The Master Virtue
Wisdom enables us to
discern correctly. We
cannot do right unless we
first see correctly.
—Richard Gula
Wisdom includes:
Good judgment (knowing right from
 Knowing how to put the other virtues
into practice
 Knowing what’s important in life (what
really makes us happy?)
 Moral reasoning (why is something
right or wrong?)
Sources of True Happiness
Affirmed Across Cultures
Maturity of character—becoming
the best person we can be
Loving relationships
Contributing to the lives of others.
—Tony Devine (Ed.), Cultivating Heart
and Character
Why is cheating wrong?
It’s a lie—it misrepresents what you know
or can do.
It violates trust.
It’s not fair to the people who aren’t
It will lower your self-respect.
It changes the kind of person you are
becoming. You’re becoming a cheater.
Wisdom tells us when to
act, how to act, and how
to put the other virtues
into practice even when
they conflict.
Treating others as
they deserve to be
Justice includes:
Respect for self, others, animals, property,
& the environment
Responsibility for self and others; duty
Courtesy and civility
Good citizenship; obedience to legitimate
authority and law
Tolerance: Respect for cultural, racial, and
religious diversity and for freedom of
conscience that does not violate others’ rts
Do unto others as you would have them do
unto you.—Christianity
What is hateful to you, do not do to your
fellow man. —Judaism
Desire for others what you desire for
yourself. —Islam
Do nothing unto others which would cause
you pain if done to you. —Hinduism
Hurt not others in ways you yourself would
find hurtful.—Buddhism
Inner Toughness
Tough times never last.
Tough people do.
—Robert Schuller
Success is not final. Failure
is not fatal. It is the courage
to continue that counts.
—Winston Churchill
Fortitude includes:
Ability to handle hardship, overcome
obstacles, deal with disappointment, grow
from setbacks, and withstand pain.
Fortitude enables us
to do what is right in
the face of difficulty.
Do the hard right
instead of the easy
—Sign in a school
The ability to govern
Self-control includes:
 Controlling our emotions (e.g.,
anger), appetites, and impulses
 Ability to delay gratification
 Ability to resist temptation
 Chastity (sexual self-control)
 Moderation in the pursuit of even
legitimate pleasures
An experiment by Stanford
psychologist Walter Mischel
described in Daniel Goleman’s
Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can
Matter More Than IQ
Some ate the marshmallow right
Some struggled to resist but
gave in.
About a third went the full 15
minutes and earned the second
The Marshmallow Test
High school seniors who showed self-control
on the marshmallow test at age 4 were:
Still better able to delay gratification
Better able to make plans & follow through
More likely to persevere in face of difficulty
Better able to concentrate
Better able to handle stress
Academically stronger (SATs 100 pts higher).
Performance on the Marshmallow
Test at age 4 was twice as powerful
as IQ in predicting teenagers’ SAT
Self-control is a key character
strength whose foundation is laid
down in the preschool years.
 The
self-control strategies—
such as averting one’s eyes
and self-talk—used by those
who delayed gratification can
be taught and learned.
When you have to make a decision:
-Think (What are
my choices?)
-Review (Did I make
the best choice?)
Be a Character Coach
Demonstrate the skill.
Let the student try it.
Give feedback.
Have the student practice it with you.
Have the student practice it in real-life
situations, with you observing/guiding.
Independent practice.
—Skillstreaming by Arnold Goldstein
A parent’s success with
Two brothers were fighting over
the last ice cream sandwich.
The older brother said, “Wait, let’s
STOP and THINK about this.”
They talked it through and decided
to cut the sandwich in half.
Either we rule our
desires, or our desires
rule us.
—Old Proverb
We can choose to stay free
of addictions to drugs,
alcohol, or pornography.
“Pornography is the addiction of the
21st century. (Recent poll: 70% of
college-age males are users.)
“Have the courage to walk away,
throw it away, or turn it off. You are
better than that.”
—Sean Covey, The 6 Most Important
Decisions You’ll Ever Make (includes
chapter on addictions)
What’s Wrong with Porn?
It violates the dignity of persons by treating
people as sex objects. It takes something
beautiful and makes it dirty.
It puts images in your mind that you can’t get rid
It’s addictive; it brings short-term pleasure but
then starts to run your life. For males, it is
usually accompanied by the habit of
Both habits will lower your self-respect.
Pornography can cause problems in marriage.
Study of college students’ responses to
sexually provocative pictures
Reading, several times a day, a list of
the reasons why pornography goes
against one’s highest values has helped
people break free of the addiction.
T. G. Morrow
Achieving Chastity in a
Pornographic World
5. LOVE:
Acting in ways that
benefit others without
seeking anything for
Love—selfless love that
expects nothing back—is
the most powerful force in
the universe.
—F. Washington Jarvis, With Love and
Prayers: A Headmaster Speaks to the
Next Generation
Love includes:
Friendliness and Cheerfulness
Generosity: willingness to sacrifice for
the sake of others
Patriotism (love of what is noble in
your country)
We must put love
into action.
—Mother Teresa
Kindness gives birth
to kindness.
A Choice We Get to
Life is 10% what
happens to you, and
90% how you react to
—Charles Swindoll
You get to choose your
attitude in any situation.
Positive Attitude includes:
 Enthusiasm
 Adaptability
 Sense of Humor
Hard work includes:
 Initiative
 Effort
 Diligence: the habit of doing
things well
 Resourcefulness
Don’t measure yourself by
what you have accomplished,
but by what you should have
accomplished with your
—John Wooden, UCLA basketball
Every accomplishment
starts with the decision to
Integrity includes:
Following your conscience
 Standing up for what’s right
 Keeping your word
 Honesty with yourself
 Being “whole,” morally
The most dangerous form
of deception is selfdeception.
—Josh Billijngs
Gratitude includes:
The habit of being thankful;
counting your blessings
 Recognizing how you benefit
from others
 Not complaining
No duty is more
important than giving
—St. Ambrose
Gratitude, like love, is an act
of the will. We choose to be
grateful, just as we choose to
—Ann Husted Burleigh
I thank God for my handicaps.
Through them, I found myself,
my work, and my God.
—Helen Keller, blind from age 2
The Gratitude Journal
“The first thing when my kids arrived, I
asked them to write in their Gratitude
Journal 5 things they were thankful
for in the past 24 hours.”
“It took just a few minutes, but it made
a noticeable difference in their
Go 24 hours without
complaining about
The Foundational
Humility includes:
The desire to be a better person.
Being aware of your strengths and areas
for improvement
Not being proud or conceited
Ability to accept criticism gracefully.
Being willing to admit and correct your
Humility is recognizing both
our abilities and inadequacies
and pressing our abilities into
service without attracting
attention or expecting
—David Isaacs, Character-Building: A
Guide for Parents and Teachers
Pride is the worst vice,
because it blinds us to
our faults.
—David Brooks
YouTube: “The Architecture of Character”
Humility drives the quest
for character
because it motivates us to
be the best person we
can be.
Chastity is the virtue that enables us to use
reason to control our sexual desires, and to
use the gift of our sexuality with true
respect for self and others.
Chastity enables us to save all sexual
intimacy for a truly committed love
relationship (historically known as marriage).
Chastity is a positive lifestyle that includes
a clean mind and heart that shows in all of
our actions.
BSA Membership Standards Resolution :
Membership in any program of the Boy Scouts of
America requires the youth member to:
(a) subscribe to and abide by the values expressed
in the Scout Oath and Scout Law
(b) subscribe to and abide by the precepts of the
Declaration of Religious Principle (duty to God)
(c) demonstrate behavior that exemplifies the highest
level of good conduct and respect for others and is
consistent at all times with the values expressed in
the Scout Oath and Scout Law.
Membership Standards Resolution (cont.)
Any sexual conduct, whether
homosexual or heterosexual, by
youth of Scouting age is contrary to
the virtues of Scouting.
Medical Institute of Sexual Health
Sexual activity for unmarried youth
is not healthy regardless of who
their partner is. All young persons,
regardless of sexual orientation,
should therefore practice
abstinence to avoid the risks of
uncommitted sexual activity.
• Since 2001, a majority (51-55%) of U.S. high
schools students say they have not had sexual
• Only 1/3 say they are currently sexually active.
• ¼ of sexually active teens have an STD.
• 1 of 3 girls gets pregnant at least once by age 20.
One-third of those get an abortion.
• Two-thirds of teens who have had sex say they
wish they had waited.
• Sexually active teens are more likely to manifest a
“problem behavior syndrome” that includes drug
abuse and anti-social behavior.
“The Shadow Side of Sexual
“Many young adults are confused,
hurting, and sometimes ashamed
because of sexual experiences played
out in a culture that told them simply to
go for it and feel good.”
—Lost in Transition: The Dark Side of
Emerging Adulthood
10 Tips for Living a Chaste Life
1. Practice modesty in your speech, dress, and
actions. Modesty sends a message.
2. Find at least one good friend who has made the
commitment to live a chaste life; support each other.
3. Date only people who share your values, and mostly
in groups rather than singly.
4. When you do date singly, plan your dates and avoid
sexual temptation. Avoid situations like the back seat
of a car or being alone together at home, in a dark
room, or on a bed. Avoid sexual stimuli such as most
"R"-rated movies.
5. Make a list of 10 ways you can have fun together
that won’t create temptation.
6. Limit physical affection to light hugs and kisses.
• Your hands start roaming
• Either person starts to remove clothing
• You are doing something you wouldn’t be
doing if your mother or grandmother were
• You’re arousing feelings that will reduce
your self-control and your ability to make
the right decision.
7. Tap into support systems, websites such as:,,,,,,, and
Read a good book that supports waiting, such
as Sean Covey’s The 6 Most Important
Decisions You’ll Ever Make
Read a magazine that supports waiting, such as
Just for Girls or Just for Guys
8. Know how to resist sexual pressure. Be ready
with “comeback lines.”
Comeback Lines
“If you loved me you would.”
“If you loved me, you wouldn’t ask.”
“I’ll stop whenever you say.”
“How about right now?”
“Everybody’s doing it.”
“Then you shouldn’t have any trouble
finding somebody else.”
9. Have a Start Over Game Plan
A. C. Green, former NBA Lakers basketball star known for his stance
on chastity, recommends 5 steps for “getting back in the game”:
1. Make a commitment to start over. List the reasons
you are choosing to change.
2. Find out who your teammates are. Find friends who
will support you.
3. Communicate. Tell the people you date about your
4. Stay within the boundaries. Set limits.
5. Focus on your future. When chastity gets difficult,
remember your future goals and the reasons you have
chosen to wait.
10. Pray. If you believe in God, make
personal prayer a daily habit and ask God
in your prayer time for help in leading a
chaste life.
Keep in mind the words of Mother Teresa:
“Purity is the fruit of prayer.”
Real Love Character Test
1. Does this person treat me, my friends, and
my family with respect?
2. Does this person ever shove, shake, hit, or
emotionally bully me?
3. Does he always want to get his own way?
4. Can I trust this person?
5. Does this person ever pressure me to do
something I don’t want to do?
“10 Emotional Dangers of
Premature Sex”
Sex Education Tab)
• Two-thirds of teens who
have been sexually involved
say they wish they had
—National Campaign to Prevent Teen
“Since that first night, my boyfriend
expects sex on every date. When I
don’t feel like it, we end up in a big
“I’d like to end this relationship and
date others, but after being so
intimate, it’s awfully tough.”
—16-year-old girl
College girl:
“I lost my virginity when I was 15.
Once my boyfriend and I began
having sex, it completely destroyed
any love we had.
“I felt he was no longer interested in
spending time with me—he was
interested in spending time with my
The attempted suicide rate for 12- to16-year-old girls who have had
sexual intercourse is six times
higher than for peers
who are virgins.
D. Orr, M. Beiter, & G. Ingersoll, “Premature sexual
activity as an indicator of psychosocial risk,”
Pediatrics, 87, 141-147.
26-year-old husband:
“I wish someone had been preaching
abstinence in my ear when I was in
high school. That’s when my sexual
activity started.
“I don’t even want to think about my
college years.”
Waiting will:
Make your relationships better
Increase your self-respect
Gain you the respect of others
Teach you to respect others
Give you a clear conscience (no regrets)
Help you develop virtues such as good
judgment, self-control, modesty, courage, and
genuine respect for self and others
7. Help you find a person of character to be your
marriage partner and the father or mother of
your children.
Why Wait?
“Sex is so special, it deserves a special
home. It is most meaningful when
it’s part of something bigger. When
you are married, your sexual intimacy
expresses your total commitment to
each other.
“The ultimate intimacy belongs within
the ultimate commitment.”
• Love is patient; love is kind. Love wants what is
best for another person. Love will never cross the
line between what's right and wrong. It's wrong to
put one another in danger of having to deal with
hard choices, choices that could change your lives
• Having sex before marriage may feel right for the
moment. But the possible costs of an unexpected
pregnancy, abortion, and sexually transmitted
disease—as well as the deep hurts that can come
from a broken relationship—outweigh the feelings
of the moment. The feelings are temporary; their
consequences are long-lasting.
All good things are worth waiting for.
Waiting until marriage to have sex is a
mature decision to control your desires.
If you are getting to know someone—or
are in a relationship—remember: If it's
love, love waits.
Highest stage of moral reasoning about
• Deep Respect for the Rights and Dignity of
All Persons
• Understanding of Sex as Self-Gift—Part of
a Total, Loving Commitment—and Desire
to Save Oneself for That Relationship
• Understanding of Love As Wanting What
is Truly Best for the Other
If you keep in mind the person you will
some day meet and marry, you’ll wait for
them. In the meantime, you won’t do
anything to disrespect or hurt a person
who will someday be another person’s
husband or wife.
Keep in mind how you will expect a young
man to treat your daughter one day. By
listening to your conscience in this way,
you’ll have a good idea of where to draw
the line.
—Jason Evert
In her book, Keep Love Real, Lora TanGarcia writes:
If you’re a guy, ask yourself, “Do I
want some other guy putting his
hands all over my future wife?” Then
don’t put your hands all over
someone else’s future wife.
Starting Over
You can’t change the
past, but you can choose
the future.
No one can build
your character
for you.
It’s an “inside job.”
Parents can give good advice
and put their children on the
right paths, but the final
forming of a person’s character
lies in their own hands.
—Anne Frank, The Diary of Anne
Deb Brown, kindergarten
“You are responsible for
creating your character by
the daily decisions you
She and her 5-year-olds practice
wise sayings:
• “Actions speak louder than
• “Honesty is the best policy.”
• “If you want to have a friend, be a
“Before you make a decision…”
• Stop and think.
• Use a wise saying to make a
good decision.
One of Mrs. Brown’s
students was Cody.
Cody’s dad was in prison
for murder.
“I just know that if he had
your class, he wouldn’t be
where he is now.
“He would have made better
Character has two big parts:
performance character and moral character.
Performance Character:
Doing Our Best
Moral Character:
Being Our Best
in Relationships
 A group that supports and challenges
(positive relationships and norms)
 Self-Study (self-assessment, goalsetting)
 Other-Study (learning from example)
 Public performance/presentation
KEY 1:
A Community/Group That
Supports and Challenges
(This builds the culture that
shapes the character)
The Importance of Relationships
• Research shows kids are most
influenced by those persons to whom
they have an emotional attachment.
• Adults who have warm and caring
relationships with kids are more
effective role models.
Research on Resilience
Resilient kids possess 4 strengths:
1. Social competence
2. Problem-solving skills
3. A sense of identity
4. Hope for the future.
They often cite a special teacher, coach,
or other adult who was a confidant
and an inspiring role model.
“In the second it takes me to shake
a hand, I renew my relationship
with that kid.”
“Help Me Know Your Child”
A 4th-grade teacher sends home a questionnaire:
• List 5 words that describe your child’s
character or personality.
• What motivates your child?
• What upsets your child?
• What are your child’s interests?
• What else should I know?
Who are you?
Your answers will remain private. Skip any you wish. Feel
free to ask me the same Q’s.
What’s your favorite leisure-time activity?
What’s something you do well?
What are two words that describe you?
What is your best quality?
What co-curricular activities are you involved in?
What else would you like me to know about you?
—Hal Urban, Lessons from the Classroom: 20 Things
Good Teachers Do
Build Positive Peer Relations
I used the first 4 minutes of class during the first
month to have kids do paired 2-minute
1. What’s something you own that’s special to you?
2. What’s your proudest achievement so far?
3. What’s an important goal you have?
4. A special interest?
5. Who is someone you greatly admire? Why?
—Hal Urban, Lessons from the Classroom
Our “Way”
At Selah Junior High School:
• We stand up for each other and challenge
one another to be our best.
• We treat each other with respect.
• We work hard, develop our talents, and aim
for excellence.
• We do the right thing even when no one is
• We strive to make our school a positive place
for everyone.
Character-Based Discipline
Promotes positive behavior and good
Deters and corrects negative behavior
3 essentials:
1. High expectations
2. Clear rules
3. Clear consequences.
Gary Robinson, 4th, 6th, and 9thgrade teacher:
• Hello-Goodbye Rule
1. Put kids in groups of 4. Give each a
large sheet of paper and marker.
2. “Write down 2 rules that will help us DO
OUR BEST WORK and 2 rules that will
3. Guide the group in combining the ideas
into one Compact.
Sample Compact for Excellence
To Help Everyone Feel Respected and Cared
About, We Will:
1. Treat others the way we want to be treated.
2. Think before we act.
3. Apologize when we do something hurtful.
To Help Everyone Do Their Best, We Will:
1. Never settle for less than our best.
2. Ask for help when we need it.
3. Have a positive attitude (bounce back).
To make the Compact effective:
1. Have everyone sign it. Post it.
2. Review it regularly.
3. Stop and ask, “What are we forgetting?”
when necessary.
4. Assess: “How are we doing on (a
particular Compact item), on a scale of 15?” (Each kid rates it.)
5. Set a goal: “What part of the Compact
should we work on next week?”
Signs as Reminders
No one ever went wrong by being polite.
No Put-Downs
Compliments Spoken Here
Positive Attitude
Respect for Others
Hard Work
The Golden Rule rules.
“If someone forgets a rule, I knock on the
pertinent sign.”
Use questions to get kids to think and
take responsibility:
What’s the rule about _____________?
What are you forgetting?
What am I thinking?
How does he feel when you do that?
How can you solve this problem?
Discipline That Builds Character
Discipline should help kids:
1. Experience a logical consequence (such as
time out).
2. Understand why their behavior was wrong.
3. Plan how to avoid making the same mistake
in the future (and meet later to discuss how
the plan is working).
4. Make restitution--repair the harm done
(“What can I do to make up for it?”).
1. Calm down.
2. Make a plan so you don’t make
the same mistake.
3. Show your plan to the “coach”
4. Get back in the game.
“If a student calls someone a
name, or is unkind in any other
way, I ask that child to write a
sincere letter of apology to the
person he or she has offended.”
Individual Behavior Plan
1. I will sit away from Joe when we have
individual work to do.
2. If we both get our assignments in on time,
we can work together on the group
project at the end of the week.
Signed: Carlos
Date: September 15, 2011
Behavior contracts have
proved helpful with kids who
“I will not hit or hurt anyone. If I do, I
will have to call my parents and
report what I did.”
Why Follow Through Matters
• “Most people don’t follow through. If you
talk to a kid, you have to follow up, check
in, hold them accountable.
“Who does a young person feel most
valued by? The person who follows
—Phil Caruso, high school counselor and
college baseball coach
Five-year-old Brian called Jonathan, a
kindergarten classmate, “Tan Man”—
because his skin was light brown.
Jonathan’s mother called the teacher
and said that the name-calling upset
Jonathan so much, he didn’t want to
go back to school.
“Brian, there are two kinds of hurts:
outside hurts that you can see, like a
cut or a bruise, and inside hurts that
you can’t see—like a hurt feeling.
“The inside hurts actually hurt more
and last longer.”
“When you call Jonathan ‘Tan Man,’ it hurts
him so much he doesn’t want to come back
to school.
“Our class has to be a safe place for
everyone. I wouldn’t let anyone make that
kind of inside hurt for you. And I can’t let
you make an inside hurt for Jonathan.
“Now tell me what I said.”
• Use children’s literature
to teach empathy and
One teacher reads the book,
Teammates (the story of baseball
players Jackie Robinson and Pee
Wee Reese) and asks:
• Who in the story showed caring?
• Who did not show caring?
She then challenges her class:
• “Remember this story, and make it a goal
to show caring toward each other during
the rest of the day.”
When a child behaves in a caring way,
she publicly compliments that child.
When a child behaves in an uncaring way,
she privately corrects that child:
– “Did that behavior show caring?”
– “Remember our story, remember our
On each subsequent day of the
week, she reads a different book
about caring and repeats this
process. She says:
“By the end of the week, caring has
been established as an expectation
in my class.”
Language and Character
“I have high standards for language. I list
‘taboo words’:
– suck
– shut up
– stupid
– retard
“I explain that these words are
counterproductive to an environment of
respect and kindness.”
Thinking About Language
High school teacher Hal Urban asked:
• Would you think differently about me if I
used a lot of swear words?
• Are people who use swear words in public
places polite or rude?
• What do you reveal about yourself when
you use a lot of bad language?
“I challenged my kids to keep count of
the number of times they use swear
words in a day—even to see if they
could go for a day without swearing.
“Many have said to me that they’ve cut
down on their use of swearing and
are glad they did.”
• We build character by giving kids voice—
involving them in shared decision making
that gives them real responsibility for
making the troop, pack, or patrol the best it
can be.
• The chief means of fostering this shared
responsibility is the circle meeting.
Set the meeting rules: “What rules do we need in
order to have good talking and good listening?”
“What should we do if someone doesn’t follow those
Set the agenda; ask kids to describe the problem:
“What’s been happening when we line up?”
Pose the challenge: “How can we, working together,
solve this problem?”
Conduct interactive discussion: “Who would like to
comment on John’s idea?”
Reach consensus on a plan of action.
Agree on consequences for not following the plan:
“What should we do if someone doesn’t follow our
plan? What’s a fair consequence?”
Ask all students to sign the plan.
Plan a time for a follow-up meeting. “When should
we meet again to evaluate how our plan is working?”
Post the plan where all can see it.
• Teach conflict resolution
1. Stop and cool down.
2. Take turns talking (“Make an Istatement.”)
3. Listen and find out what you both
4. Think of ways to solve the problem.
5. Choose the idea you both like.
KEYS 2 & 3:
Other-Study and
by Example
To become a person
of character, observe
and study persons of
1. What does it mean? (Put it in your
own words.)
2. Self-assess: How well do you put
this into practice?
3. Make a plan to do one thing to
practice this more consistently.
4. Share your plan with a partner.
Life is 10% what
happens to you, and
90% how you react to
—Charles Swindoll
Interview someone whose character
you admire:
1.Why is it important to have a good
2.Who helped you develop your
3.How did you help yourself?
4.What tips would you give to kids today
about developing character?
Character Interview
Post and discuss:
What were 3 important things you
learned from your interview?
Goal-Setting Bulletin Board
1. Find a story about someone who set
and achieved a goal.
2. Bring in your story to add to our
Goal-Setting Bulletin Board.
“Kids learn that goal-setting helps
people succeed in life. The next
week, I teach them how to set their
own goals.”
Hal Urban, a high school teacher:
You create your
character by the
choices you make.
The story of Bob Wieland
• At age 19, he got a contract
to play baseball with the
Pittsburgh Pirates.
• In Vietnam, he lost both
of his legs in a mine
• In the hospital, he sank
into a deep depression.
• “It won’t help me to focus
on what I can’t do. What
can I do?”
• He began to lift weights,
and went on to set a world
record by bench-pressing
500 pounds.”
• Then he learned to walk on
his hands.
• On September 8, 1982, he
left his California home and
set out to walk across
America on his hands.
• He got thousands of
people to sponsor his
walk, with the proceeds
going to relieve hunger.
• It took him three 3 years,
8 months, and nearly 5
million hand steps to reach
his destination of
Washington, D.C.
“I wanted to show that
through faith in God and
dedication, there’s
nothing a person can’t
The Story of Liz Murray
• Her parents were drug addicts.
• When she was 15, her mother
died of AIDS.
• She dropped out of school and
was homeless on the streets of
New York City.
She asked herself:
“Am I going to end up like
my mother, or am I going to
do something different with
my life?”
• She went back to school, studied
hard, and got accepted into
Harvard University.
• Her story is told in the You-Tube
video, “Homeless to Harvard.”
“You make choices,
then your choices
make you.”
• More than a thousand stories of everyday
heroes of all ages who stuck out their
necks for others.
• Project: Find and interview giraffes in your
• Project: Become a giraffe in your
community, or work with others to be
giraffes together.
Craig Kielburger: A Giraffe Hero
12-year-old Craig Kielburger in Toronto read
about the murder of a Pakistani boy who had
spoken out against child slavery in his country.
Craig started “Free the Children,” a movement
dedicated to ending child slavery worldwide.
He raised money, spoke out, and even went on
a global fact-finding trip. After the media picked
up his story, several major companies pledged
not to buy products made by child labor.
James Ale: A Giraffe Hero
8-Year-old James and his friends used to
play in the street because there were no
playgrounds in their part of town in Savie,
Florida. Then one of the kids got hit by a
Upset, James spent a year and a half
trying to persuade City Hall to build a park
in his neighborhood. They finally did.
Uncommon Champions:
Fifteen Athletes Who
Battled Back
Marty Kaminski
50 American Heroes
Every Kid Should Meet
Dennis Denenberg &
Lorraine Roscoe
KEY 4: Public Performance
• When we publicly share—even with just
one other person—our goals and the
progress we are making toward them, our
motivation increases.
Study Your Hero; Become Your Hero
Give a group report:
1. Why did you choose this person as
your hero?
2. How are you like your hero? Not like
your hero?
3. What, specifically, are you doing to
try to become more like your hero?
4. Report on your progress in 2 months.
Self-Assessment and
4-H Study of Positive Youth Development
• Conducted by Richard Lerner, Tufts Univ.
• Involves 7,000 youth and 3,500 parents
from 41 states; in its 8th year.
“The strengths of young people can be
measured by:
1. Theirs selection of goals
2. Optimization (strategies for reaching goals)
3. Overcoming obstacles in the face of failure or
blocked goals.”
The Power of Goal-Setting
• Lewis Terman study
• Dad who helped kids set
Practice Goal-Setting
At the end of the day, kids take out
their Character Record Book and
answer 3 questions:
1. How did I show kindness* today?
2. How did I not show kindness?
3. How will I show kindness tomorrow?
* The focus virtue changes weekly.
At the start of the day, all students take
out their Good Deeds Journal and
1. A good deed I did yesterday . . .
2. A good deed I will do today . . .
Teachers make connections to the good
deeds theme through current events,
literature, etc.
“I like the Good Deeds Journal
because it helps me be more
aware of helping others.
“I can also see an improvement in
my friends.”
Practice Altruism
8th-graders saw clips from movies such as
“The Miracle Worker” depicting altruism.
They discussed: “Who showed altruism?
What was the effect of their altruism on
Daily homework: “Carry out an altruistic
act of your own choosing and observe its
effects. Record this in a journal.”
Increased Altruism
On a pre-post survey, students showed a
significant increase in how important they
thought it was to be altruistic.
Many commented on the impact on their
One boy: “I know I’m a good person,
because I do good things.”
• Fold a colored strip of paper into 3 sections.
• Write I will on the first section, what you will do on
the second section, and when you will do it on the
third section.
• “I will say only positive things about others this
• I will do a kind deed for someone each day this
• “I will report or try to stop any bullying I see this
A Monthly Virtue
Choose one virtue—such as patience,
kindness, courage, self-control,
perseverance, or organization—to work on
for the whole month.
• Set small daily goals.
• At the end of the day, assess how you did.
100 Goals
1. Write 100 goals you’d like to achieve in your
lifetime (consider education, career, family,
adventure, travel, service, creating, spiritual
growth, and major accomplishments).
2. List your 10 most important goals.
3. Write a paragraph about your #1 goal. Why is
it so important to you?
—Hal Urban, Lessons from the Classroom: 20
Things Good Teachers Do (
Hal Urban: I’ve had students write to me
10 or 15 years after graduation, sending
me their list of 100 goals with the ones
checked off that they’ve already achieved.
They say:
“If you didn’t have us do this
assignment, I never would have even
dreamed of most of these goals, let
alone achieved them.”
A Personal Mission Statement
1. What kind of person do I want to be?
2. What contributions do I want to
3. What unchanging values will guide
4. What would I like people to say about
me at my funeral?
One Boy’s Mission Statement
Have confidence.
Be kind and respectful to everyone.
Stay focused on my goals.
Never take simple things for granted.
Ask questions.
Speak with my actions.
Help the less fortunate.
“During my junior year, I couldn’t
concentrate on anything because I
had a boyfriend. He wanted to have
sex, and I didn’t.
“In one of my classes, we had to write a
mission statement. It gave me a focus
and the courage to stick by my
—17-year-old girl
Ron Berger: An
Ethic of Excellence:
Building a Culture
of Craftsmanship
Work of excellence is
transformational. After
students have had a taste of
excellence, they’re never quite
satisfied with less.
—Ron Berger
Practices That Motivate Quality Work
Work that inspires
Models of excellence
A culture of critique (feedback)
Multiple revisions
Opportunities to present one’s work
to classmates and other audiences.
Senior Biography Project
Berger had each of his 6th-graders:
1. conduct a series of interviews with a
senior citizen
2. write that person’s biography in the
form of a small, bound book
3. give that as a gift to the senior citizen.
The Power of Work That Matters
Berger comments:
“Because my students’ work was going to
be presented to someone else (the senior
citizen), they read the drafts of their
biographies to the whole class for their
suggestions. They did many drafts of their
cover designs. They wanted their books to
be perfect.”
Rules for the
Culture of Critique:
• Be kind.
• Be specific.
• Be helpful.
Steps in the Culture of Critique
1. Presenter: “I would especially like
your suggestions on . . .”
2. The class first gives positive
3. Students then offer suggestions,
often in the form of questions:
“Would you consider . . .?”
“Have you thought of . . .?”
In Berger’s classroom, students are:
• Developing personal responsibility by
striving to do their best work
• Developing social responsibility by
helping each other do their best work (by
giving each other feedback on projects).
Within the character of the
citizen lies the welfare
of the nation.
For free resources on
fostering character
Center for the 4th and 5th
Raising Kids of Character:
10 Things Parents Can Do
GEN 103
Period 3, Room 106

Raising Good Children