The Superintendent's Report: The Importance of Character
Dr. Jerry L. Oates, Superintendent of Brunswick County Schools
One skill that is needed for success in school and life is character. It is the one, non-monetary/non-material gift that a parent/guardian can give a child. It is not a gift they will grow bored with and toss into a pile. It provides a foundation for their success. Good character and integrity are prevention tools for self-discipline and controlling anger.
Being a good, conscientious citizen is so important for the type of world we live in today. And, with all the turmoil and violence in today's world, it is even more important that parents/guardians go the extra mile to help their child develop the characteristics for good citizenship at home and at school.
To teach your child to be respectful and courteous to others, it begins with you. You can begin by modeling for your child by being consistent in saying to your child “please” and “thank you”. The use of these three simple words will go a long way in helping your child to use these words when in conversation with others.
Another behavior that parents can demonstrate to teach their child to be respectful and courteous to others is to not interrupt. When you interrupt someone in the middle of a sentence or change the television channel without asking, then a child learns that it is okay to interrupt. If you can teach your child not to interrupt others, you will have given them a gift of developing the habit of being respectful of others that will last a lifetime.
Developing responsibility is another major element in building good character and citizenship. You can also model this important habit in a variety of ways. One is to give your child chores to do at home. These chores might be daily or weekly. Make sure they are reasonable and age appropriate. When they demonstrate initiative over and beyond those chores by doing others that were not assigned, reward them with positive praise. This will reinforce your child’s initiative and help them learn that being responsible brings intrinsic rewards.
Another important way is to teach your child responsibility is to offer him or her choices. Talk about the pros and cons of each choice. In time, he or she will learn to make wise choices on a consistent basis.
Lastly, when you make a mistake admit it. This will teach your child that it is okay to make an honest mistake and that one should admit it when they do. This teaches them to be responsible for their actions and to be honest about them with themselves and others.
Respect and courtesy, responsibility and self-discipline are learned behaviors. They are learned from adults. Parents are a child’s first teacher. Regardless of how old your child is, he or she will learn these characteristics by observing you and other adults.
- To read previous blog entries from Dr. Oates, please CLICK HERE.