It was my turn to give a small talk yesterday to a group of moms about teaching virtues to our children. To prepare, I went back to my notes on a talk on virtues that I heard at our kids' school a couple of years ago, where a non Christian speaker who gave the talk, mentioned how much easier it was to teach Social and Emotional Learning in Christian schools than in any other school, because these schools made an emphasis on teaching virtues.
"Social and Emotional Learning", she said,"... is the process through which children and adults acquire the knowledge, attitudes and skills they need to recognize and manage their emotions, demonstrate caring and concern for others, establish positive relationships, make responsible decisions, and handle challenging situations constructively"
I call that: character building.
The virtues needed to build character are: friendship, teamwork, honesty, responsibility, problem solving, respect, kindness, fairness, self-control and compassion.
The speaker at our school went on to mention that teaching and reenforcing these virtues to school children have had the following positive effects in the short term:
- Improved class attendance
- Positive attitude towards learning
- Less children expelled from school
- Up to 14 percentile point improvement on standardized tests
- 11% higher GPAs
- Improved team work and participation
- Better concentration, among many others.
All these empirical and anecdotical results make perfect sense; they show that if you practice raising kids focusing your teaching objectives towards improving good habits and virtues, our children will have a solid foundation to live cheerful, successful lives and help others while doing it.
This is a daily effort and a life-long undertaking. Let's keep on doing it! Good luck!