How many of you think there are many children that struggle with communicating their needs, thoughts and feelings with words and instead are physically impulsive? Whether you have noticed this behaviour challenge with your own children, or in your observation of other children, it does exist for many. Bullying is now in the forefront of media coverage, and it seems that too many children are disinterested and have no concern over another child’s feelings.
In his book “The Psychology of Character,” Dr. A.A. Roback defines character as an indication of a person’s ability to “inhibit the baser human instincts of fear, greed, selfishness, and pride while deliberately exercising the virtues of goodness.” Moreover, the character reflects who we choose to be, the attitudes and values that govern our behaviour and reflect how we feel about ourselves and others. New York Times columnist and best-selling author David Brooks says that good character comes from “fighting your weaknesses and depth of character comes from the struggle, the wrestling with your shortcomings.”
But this may seem as a straightforward task but teaching character is not an easy task, causing many in our secular, bottom-line culture to wonder what’s in it for them and their children. Rather than trying to instil abstract values in our children, wouldn’t our efforts and funds be better spent on immediate, tangible goals, such as getting into the right schools, meeting the right people, or excelling at a particular skill?
So what are some long-term benefits of instilling these golden traits in your child, well lets take a look together.
Overcoming challenges or failures
Everyone faces setbacks in life – such as job loss, divorce, and illness – that can break their hearts and spirits. Those with strong character demonstrate a greater ability to bounce back and continue to pursue their goals despite the obstacles they might face.
For example, Winston Churchill suffered a major political defeat following WWI and retired from the government for more than a decade before returning to lead the British fight against the Nazis. As a consequence of his indomitable courage and willingness to accept responsibility, he died as one of the world’s most loved and respected leaders. Steve Jobs humiliated and publicly ridiculed after his forced resignation in 1985 from Apple – the company he co-founded – demonstrated extraordinary persistence, self-confidence, and resiliency and lead to his return to Apple in 1996 and new success.
Having overall stronger health
A 2015 study published in Frontiers in Psychology found that workers with strong character traits handle workplace and life stresses better than those without such qualities. A 2018 report published in the International Positive Psychology Association newsletter reviewed hundreds of studies regarding the link between character and health, both physical and mental. The consensus was that character reliably predicts physical health and disability, as well as substance avoidance, cardio-respiratory fitness, and disease recovery.
Doing better in business dealings
A study reported in Harvard Business Review found that CEOs with high character ratings – especially in the categories of integrity, responsibility, forgiveness, and compassion – delivered a return on assets almost five times greater than CEOS with low character ratings.
Examples of such leaders include Sally Jewell, a former Secretary of the Interior who overcame gender discrimination and anti-big business sentiments to protect natural, historical, and cultural treasures for future generations, and Charles Sorenson, whose kindness, ethics, and patience enabled him to lead a 1,200-physician practice as an example of how to reduce national health care costs.
Here were some general benefits that we shed light upon but is the debate really settled?
While there are also those who believe that the forward is through investing in your child’s character traits. The principles of character education are certainly not new. In many ways, they are consistent with more traditional ideas about education. At the same time, modern educators who embrace this model aren’t trying to recapture the past. They are, rather, seeking to create an environment that helps students face the challenges of living in a complex and fast-changing world.
Parents, as well as students, enjoy the benefits of character education. In a society where influences such as the media and internet constantly barrage children with messages, it’s more important than ever to provide guidance and balance, both at home and in the classroom. It’s unrealistic to expect parents on their own to watch and guide children all day long.
Many parents recognize the need to raise their children in a community that fosters important values. Traditional influences, such as neighbors, religious institutions, and local community organizations are harder to find today. People spend long hours working, move frequently, change jobs, and are increasingly fragmented in their own social circles. Schools provide one of the few stable influences on children’s’ lives. Character education is a model that provides students with core values along with academic instruction. This type of education is essential for raising the next generation.
But how to make this process appealing enough for children as they often lose interest very easily, so there might be a solution for that too. Educational toys such as electric ride on cars are designed to engage children in a productive and wholesome manner. They make playtime exciting and retain the interest of children, improving their focus and concentration during play sessions. So, if you want to motivate your child to improve their attention span, getting them an educational toy is a brilliant idea.