A recent article in Parade Magazine spotlighted the efforts of older adults mentoring children on how to be good citizens. Specifically, Veterans and Congressional Medal of Honor recipients volunteer as mentors in schools across the nation.
The article emphasizes the point that parents and other adult family members should be the main source of such teaching – teachers have enough work to do just getting our children educated – but with a little bit of reinforcement at school, the lesson becomes that much more vital to the young learners.
The character development program of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation works hand-in-hand with Character.org, a national nonprofit that works with schools to promote 11 principles of effective character education. Through these combined programs children are being introduced to 11 principles that reinforce the concept of doing the right thing.
Words such as:
- sacrificial giving
become actionable parts of their character that can benefit many. A few of the section headings in the attached article give a hint at what is involved in passing along the 11 principles to the children:
- Create a culture of caring
- Help kids serve others
- Give kids a chance to lead
- Reap the benefits
This program makes so much sense to me. The world needs empathetic people that make a difference in the lives of others. The older we get, the less time we have to effectuate such a difference. Starting as a young person, however, the benefits are more outreaching and long-lasting. I can’t help but think of the lyrics from the Crosby, Stills, & Nash song, Teach your children. Here’s one of the verses:
And you of tender years can’t know the fears that your elders grew by.
And so, please help them with your youth, they seek the truth before they can die.