Teaching children character may be more important than history or math according to new book

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  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Sept. 2, 2012 7:29 a.m.

    Life is full of "uncontrolled influences", and perhaps sheltering your kids from them is a good idea. But it wasn't for us. I am one of those people who loves to stand out during the storm, feeling the wind push against me. It is what makes me feel alive.

    It is that same thing I try to teach my kids. There will always be those things in life that present challenges to achieving what you are trying to do. It is those that can keep their focus, regardless of what the world throws at you, that creates and refines character, at least in my opinion.

    So while I get the home schooling thing, and don't see anything wrong with those who choose it, my focus is for my kids to do well when even those around don't care. Do something because it is the right thing to do, not because it is has been made easy for you, nor because you will be punished if you don't, but because it is the right thing to do.

    And that is what I think school teaches my kids. Do the right thing and succeed regardless.

  • Akog Puyallup, WA
    Aug. 30, 2012 10:17 a.m.

    "This is a worrying predicament — for who will have the conscientiousness, the persistence and the grit to change it?"

    I know one group that does: homeschooling parents!

    There so many great schools and great teachers that teach and are examples of good character, but so many uncontrolled influences are also present there. I'm glad to see a study that supports what I and all the other homeschooling parents I have met already know: that good character is most important and we are dedicated to that first. While I do my best to teach my children academics as well as have academic opportunities outside of home, my motivation to persist comes from trying to achieve that "balance" as explained in the article and raising children that will be good citizens, self-motivated, and contribute positively to society. Obviously homeschooling doesn't work for everybody, but there are a lot of homeschoolers out there (and the numbers are growing!) that work so hard and are dedicated to this concept and are deserving of praise!

  • TARDIS Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 30, 2012 7:10 a.m.

    I had a fantastic teacher for a reading class when I was in Junior High. She talked and explained 'how life works' once and a while and while I don't remember a thing that we read in that course, I remember everything she talked about. One of the greatest points she made was that children in Africa have old books that say "someday man will land on the moon" and a lot of them fare better than American students.

    Instead of trying to push math earlier or spend more time in school, we need fathers and mothers to be more engaged in a stable home environment and to be actively involved in their children's lives.

    "Noncognitive skills such as resilience, optimism, perseverance and focus, among others, are directly linked to success in school and beyond"

    Those skills are taught by parents. No matter how much compensation a government-run school tries to throw at children, nothing can make up for a failure in the home. I'm not saying children can't succeed without this at home, I did; but when children struggle with these (or anything) then home and family is where our attention is needed.

  • Nan BW ELder, CO
    Aug. 30, 2012 6:53 a.m.

    Character doesn't come from school, but it can certainly be taught there. It should be taught at home, in hundreds of ways, but school can reinforce that. In some cases, children do have their character molded at school. I taught in SLC, on 2700 South, for 19 years. Teaching character was a priority there. We did so with the stories and examples we used in every subject area. Reading the best of books was one of our best endeavors. I hadn't read many of those books before teaching there, and my own mindset benefitted (I wish I still had that influence; I need it!). It is to our detriment when character is molded with bad examples, and school can be a part of that.

  • EJM Herriman, UT
    Aug. 30, 2012 5:15 a.m.

    The average school teacher does try to educate our students in learning responsibility, perseverance and accountability. Unfortunately uneducated people from outside the system think all we try to do is turn them into conformist, soulless and shallow individuals.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Aug. 29, 2012 10:08 p.m.

    Character doesn't come from school. I figure that the average high school today is the most conformist, soulless, shallow place there is. Character comes from outside that system. However, we do also need engineers and scientists and trades and professionals. And they need to have real, hard knowledge skills.

  • casual observer Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 29, 2012 8:52 p.m.

    Prisons are replete with educated sociopaths.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Aug. 29, 2012 8:25 p.m.

    This old elementary teacher couldn't agree more with this idea. And contrary to what some folks would have you believe, our public school teachers probably spend as much time and effort on this as we do the Three Rs. It's more an attitude than an academic subject.

    But, y'know, what I'm seeing in the world around me now makes me worry even more that teachers may find it difficult to overcome some of the attitudes students carry from homes to schools. And don't even start me on the influence of TV and other entertainment sources on children.