As you think about the all important qualities of character that communicate what we value in our homes, schools, communities and nation, where do you find yourself? Do you find a way to justify less than admirable actions? Do you find a way to excuse bad behaviors or do you demand better?
Recently, a meeting with a group of school leaders concluded with the telling of a joke, language in the joke was off-color and I found myself sitting soberly, in the midst of laughter, wondering how we got here. It caused me to stop and see what I was tolerating in the media, in movies I was watching and books that I was reading. This self-search has resulted in more awareness to how, in my own home, I had become tolerant of inappropriateness. Things I would never want my own daughter, the students in my school district, nieces, nephews or any child to hear. The lesson: change in character begins with me. Displaying the virtue of courage, to paddle against the pull of "anything/everything goes" ensures a future of civility for our children. Indeed character was being determined by environment.
Today, I am more aware of the things I've simply tolerated in the name of "go-along" that can be tactfully taught to children and adults alike. I wonder how many others have simply become in-sensitized in their homes like I was until the circumstance changed. The DNA that is in all of us has a moral compass of right/wrong. From the depths of our beings, there is no doubt we all want to be described by others as having "integrity" that overarching quality character. The final lines of Invictus provide all of us the awareness that we can reclaim the power of character in our homes, our schools, our communities, our nation. . .