Character is Key Book Review – what was I thinking?
Posted Oct 21 2009 10:01pm
A book on character. I swear. What was I thinking? ” free book”, perhaps?
This is a CHALLENGING book: way too practical and too well researched to ignore. I found it unique that a ‘family’ slash ‘child rearing’ book included the options, and in fact, often aimed at the parents with teenagers. It is encouraging to those of us who are quite sure we have not done such a good job in the “crucial years of birth to five”. The unfortunate thing about character, that we all know, is that we cannot send them to Character school, or hire a tutor for this. It is a world-view, a way of being, a way of acting that has to come from a deeper place than rote “please” and “thank you”’s. ;
In the words of Albert Einstein:
Modelling isn’t one way of influencing people. Its the only way.”
From the back cover:The character education movement, implemented by educators around the world, is an incredibly successful and growing phenomenon. When important character attributes like honesty, integrity, and fairness are intentionally modelled and taught to kids, they develop an inner compass that continues to guide them in a positive direction. Until now, the missing link has been helping parents with their crucial participation at home. In Character Is the Key, parenting expert and therapist Sara Dimerman shares her powerful step-by-step plan that will help you bring your family together, improve communication, and unlock the very best in your children – and yourself. Get started today!
Exactly WHICH character traits are covered?
It is pretty hard to argue with these 11 (based on the principles in the educational initiative in Ontario called Character Matters)
Empathy “listening with our hearts to how someone else is feeling” Susan, mom to teen boys Dynamix Family Activity: building castles
Fairness “Live so that when your children think of fairness and integrity, they think of you.” H. Jackson Brown, Jr. Dynamix Family Activity: building character towers
Courage “ With courage you will dare to take risks, have the strength to be compassionate and the wisdom to be humble. Keshavan Nair Dynamix Family Activity: Fear Field
Honesty “Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” Thomas Jefferson Dynamix Family Activity: Lets Make a Trade
Initiative ” If your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to meet it.” Jonathan Winters Dynamix Family Activity: Picture Perfect
Integrity “I believe that respect and integrity are among the most important of the traits. Respect because it teaches you how to interact with others and integrity because it teaches you how to interact with yourself.” Arthur Birenbaum, teacher Dynamix Family Activity: Rope Shapes
Optimism “ A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity. An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Sir. Winston Churchill Dynamix Family Activity: Penny for your thoughts!
Perseverance “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” Albert Einstein Dynamix Family Activity: Tangrams
Respect “Respect for ourselves guides our morals; respect for others guides our manners.” Laurence Sterne Dynamix Family Activity: Take it back!
Responsibility “If you want children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders.” Abigail Van Buren Dynamix Family Activity: Family Bake-a-thon
About the Dynamix Family Activities – I know that you won’t know what those are, but the activities are so cool/fun/ and look incredibly effective. I haven’t instituted the Family Plan found in the second part of this book yet. If you’ve been to the amount of counselors and shrinks that I have, you’re pretty familiar with the idea of a “family meeting”, setting small goals, being intentional and all the rest of it. Although this is another of those kinds of plans, it seems to be more realistic – in fact – an entire chapter is devoted to the kids’ (& spouse’s) possible reactions to this idea and how to accept family members’ differences, and take small gains where you can towards character-building and family communication.
Note: you can read the handy-dandy chapter summaries, but be warned – you’ll be sucked into reading the whole chapter if you do! Plus, in my opinion, you’ll get way more from the book if you read the stories and examples from real families.
I think I’ll see if Mike wants to read this – in our relationship I just need to rip out the pages and plaster them everywhere since Mike is a prolific reader. Just kidding. But its true – I don’t very often directly ask him to read something, but he may find it laying around the house. Ahem.
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