Honesty is a character trait to which most people aspire. With honesty comes trust and respect from others. Without it comes fear, suspicion and betrayal. Students face daily ethical choices over whether or not they should pursue the path of honesty.
Character development is at least as important as the development of academic skills. A strong character fuels self-discipline and self-motivation, both of which are important catalysts for success in life. But character development is hard work, especially when a person’s difficult life circumstances get in the way.
Students are no strangers to power. They have parents, coaches and teachers exerting power over them and telling them what to do. Students slowly develop a moral sensibility towards authority figures and are quick to point out when they feel power is being used in negative and positive ways.
When students hear the mantra “You can make a difference in the world,” there’s often an eye-roll. Students struggle to see how the actions of a few can have big consequences for the many. The fallout of this attitude is that many won’t decide to participate in that school-wide fundraiser, start that club or vote in the next election. What’s the point? It’s not going to make a difference.
Students confront problems everyday. Some are small like how to study for an exam or get a ride to school, and some large like how to support their friends who are in unhealthy relationships. All of these problems involve the choice of whether to intervene or do nothing and let the situation play itself out. Each choice is hard and leads to consequences.