At the National Forum on Character education this weekend, I had the opportunity to meet Houston Kraft, a professional speaker, leadership consultant, and kindness advocate for CharacterStrong. I attended his breakout session on his view on the importance of nurturing the character development of the students we serve where he outlined 5 critical C’s.
- Clarity: We must stop living for happiness and start living for clear purpose – Why do you do what you do? As Maya Angelou first claimed, “People will forget what you you, people will forget what you do, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
- Competence: People want to be good, they just don’t always know what good looks like. There is a difference between personality and character. We have shifted from a culture of character to a culture of personality. People can have similar personalities, but it’s their character that determines their legacy. “Personality is what we wear to the gym, but character is how hard we work out” or said another way, “personality is what we prefer and character is what we practice – Character is love in action.”
- So, how do you build a habit? (check out the image below that aligns nicely with Kraft’s notion of habit-building)
- Unconscious and unskilled
- Conscious and unskilled
- Conscious and skilled
- Unconscious and skilled
- What if we could make ourselves and the students we serve unconsciously skilled at kindness?
- Consistency: Put your focus on the little things daily, and the big things get better. Make time, daily for the practice of kindness. Character the plate and academics are served on it. You cannot serve academics on a broken plate. Create a bulletin board in your classroom that asks, “What have you done for others today?” as an entry ticket or exit ticket for your students as conversation-starters for connecting.
- Control the clarity, competence and consistency with which we embed our character education efforts (why, how, where, what, and with whom).
- Cultivate a compassionate and empathetic culture.
Our vision at BCS requires and inspires us to infuse 21st Century skills into all of our programming, and Kraft links these modern skills to skills of character by sharing segment of a video of Boston University Character Lab Research Director Andrew Sokatch on “Teaching character – the other half of the picture” at TEDxManhattanBeach. Sokatch gives “a sobering yet attainable message regarding the education of today’s youth…Andrew argues character can and should be taught in schools, noting grit, persistence, self-control, courage, and humor, are all critical life skills for successful employment, marriages, and citizenship.” Check out the 12-minute video and be proud of the great learning experiences we provide at BCS and keep on, keeping on!