Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow.
The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.
Character development is way an individual blends knowledge, skills, attitudes, values, and beliefs into personal meaning and actions. This blending of contexts throughout life coincides with my perspective on the integration of lifelong learning and personal development. Your character should be the same when no one is looking AND when everyone is looking. CharacterLab defines character as:
Character refers to ways of thinking, acting, and feeling that benefit others as well as ourselves. Character is plural—encompassing strengths of heart, mind, and will. Strengths of heart (such as gratitude and kindness) enable harmonious relationships with other people. Strengths of mind (such as curiosity and creativity) enable independent thinking. Strengths of will (such as grit and self-control) enable us to achieve goals.
The feature articles this month highlighted 4 of the 13 attributes CharacterLab identified as key to a strong character.
Creativity, Curiosity, Purpose, and Growth Mindset
Character is the core a person’s principles and actions revealing the mindset of values for self and society. Lickona (1993) states that “through history, education has always had two great goals: to help people become smart and to help them become good” (p. 8). Character education is a learning process we can carry throughout our lifetime. Respect, justice, civic virtue, and responsibility for self and others should not be discarded once we leave formal education. Being a “good” person through life matters. Behaviors and actions build your reputation which creates opportunities for personal and professional development.
CharacterLabs Playbooks are guides to cultivate “strengths of heart, mind, and will.” The 13 elements include gratitude, curiosity, grit, kindness, creativity, growth mindset, honesty, intellectual humility, self-control, purpose, proactivity, emotional intelligence, and social intelligence.
I was drawn to the playbooks of character because I can connect these elements to aspects of Blooms to Blossoms purpose. All 13 factors align with the 7 Dimensions of Wellness. All 13 factors require lifelong learning and contribute to personal development through how you model it, celebrate it, and enable it. Using these 13 playbooks to guide education of students or your own growth will “cultivate strengths of heart, mind, and will”.
Feature articles can be found at CharacterLab Playbooks:
**Creativity: Thinking of Novel Solutions
**Curiosity: Wanting to Know More
**Purpose: Commitment to Making a Meaningful Contribution
**Growth Mindset: Believing you Can Improve Your Abilities
Read more on the topic: I encourage you to select other of the 13 playbooks based on your personal interest and consider how you encourage the development of each factor for yourself and others.
Blooms to Blossoms
Wrapping Up & Looking Forward
I hope you take some time to review the CharacterLab Playbooks and use the Habits of the Mind (link below) to strengthen your heart, mind, and will. Teacher Appreciation Week (May 2-8, 2021) is a good time to reflect on the value teachers have in promoting character and habits of the mind. Teachers make a difference!! We are all “teachers and students”…consider how you interact with others throughout your day (when and where do you “teach” and when and where do you “learn”).
More May Feature Articles include:
The 16 Habits of Mind That Make You Smarter
The habits themselves are nothing new or revolutionary. Costa and Kallick (2008) believe these habits are less on behavior but more on intent.
Read more on the topic of Habits of the Mind: Describing 16 Habits of the Mind