Creating Good Characters in Children and Young Adults.
In today’s society, children witness behaviors that are completely unacceptable, often on a daily basis. That is why Melvin Feller has developed this curriculum and wants to share it on all levels with anyone and everyone! Melvin Feller believes in improving lives as a long-term goal!
These actions could be as simple as a rude comment, a lack of courtesy or it could be much worse. Some kids will see or experience verbal, physical, and/or sexual abuse. Young people are very good at hiding their problems, so don’t assume a child is doing fine, based on his/her appearance.
If they are not experiencing these behaviors in person, they see it on television, in their music, and in their video games. After viewing these behaviors enough, these Children and Teenagers begin to think the actions are acceptable or at the very least — normal. Unfortunately, the next step in their progression is to begin acting out what they see. If they do this enough, it becomes a habit. This is such a vicious cycle.
Several years back, I decided that something needed to be done about it. I can’t remove the students from their experiences, but I can provide them with good, nurturing experiences. This was the basis for my creation of Your Character Counts Program.
Each week students receives a new goal. For example, during the first week the students’ goal is: “Goal #1: Try to give a good compliment to three different people this week. Your kind and uplifting words make more of a difference than you could possibly imagine.
Once I give the students their goal, we discuss the goal (what it means, what it looks like, and ideas to act it out). I try to provide solid examples of the goal — either through my experiences or I share goals that other students acted out.
I ask the students to do a few tasks when accomplishing most of their goals.
1. The students are to thoughtfully consider how they will act out the goal. In the case of the above goal, the student would write down the what they want to say and run it past me to make sure it is a real compliment (no saying “great shoes” for example). The goal should be tailor made for the recipient — as if it would work only for that person. One child said “ You are one of the smartest people I have ever met. Every day you come in here, do your work, and complete your goals. Good job!”
2. The students are given all week to accomplish their goal. They are welcome to exceed the limits I set.
3. At the end of the week we either have a class discussion regarding their experiences or I will ask them to write in their character journal. Journal entries should state who the goal was aimed at, what was said/done specifically, what the reaction was of the recipient, and how did it make you feel.
Last year the students really enjoyed the process. My advice is stick with it. Time always seems like an issue, though I believe we can give up 5 minutes a few days a week if it leads to creating good people. I would also encourage you to try out any goal you will ask your students to try. By experiencing the goal, you will have more authentic input to share and you will have a better understanding of any issues the students might encounter. I have listed some of the Character Goals I have used in the past.
Goal #1: Try to give a good compliment to three different people this week. Your kind and uplifting words make more of a difference than you could possibly imagine.
Goal #2: With all of the new gadgets that are available, the gift everybody still enjoys most is gratitude. This week we would like you to say thank you to any person that does anything for you. You would be surprised at the amount gratitude one could give in one day. Give it a try!
Goal #3: In today’s fast-moving society, we often times forget to say the most valued word in the English language. This word is please. The word please tells others that you are thoughtful and not expectant. This simple word can take you far in life.
Goal #4: Regardless of what you might think, everybody struggles and needs encouragement from time to time. This week we would like you to offer some encouragement to one person that looks like he or she could use it. This person can be a friend or foe or somebody you would normally not talk to.
Goal #5: This week’s goal is simple, yet classic. Open a door for somebody today.
Goal #6: This week’s goal is to show your teachers that you value their efforts, the lesson they are teaching, and the other students in the classroom. You can do this by participating in class, by raising your hand when you would like to speak, and by listening when a teacher or another student speaks. There is not one person in your class that would not appreciate your efforts…guaranteed!
Goal #7: This week’s goal may be the hardest one to complete as of yet. Try to make it the entire day without complaining. You and everybody around you will appreciate your effort!
Goal #8: In middle school, EVERYBODY feels self-conscious from time to time. This week, make it your goal to tell two people, friends or classmates, one quality you like about them. It may seem silly, but the one compliment can go a long way.
Goal #9: This week’s goal is a bit different than all the goals we have set thus far. Make it your goal to tell one or more family member(s) why you love them. Often times we take our loved ones for granted. It is important that they know we love them and why.
Goal #10: Everybody should have at least one person in his life that makes him feel special and many of us have many more than just one person. Think about who makes you feel special. Take a moment to thank this person for whatever he or she does for you. Once again, it is very easy to take people for granted. Let your person know just how important he or she is to you.