Nik2[This post originally appeared on Durff’s Blog:]

I was reading a post on Intrepid Classroom’s Ning about character. It occurred to me that character is a summation of who we are. It equals not only the ‘good’ points, but ‘bad’ points. The terms ‘good’ and ‘bad’ are defined across cultures in pretty much the same general way.

Displaying etiquette is defined by Merriam-Webster as “the conduct or procedure required by good breeding or prescribed by authority to be observed in social or official life.” Now I’m not saying I’m Ann Landers or anything. But others who fail repeatedly to display etiquette lack good breeding & education. It is important to treat others with respect.

This is how we should treat our learners – those in our classrooms. We need to model this behavior in our own interactions. When others consistently fail to do so, others cease to listen. For a twitter analogy, they unfollow you.

But how do I address this is the classrooms where I lurk? What is the best way to guide young hearts and minds toward developing character? I’m sure I don’t know the definitive answer. All I know is that I do insist on kindness, courtesy, and a reverence for all humans as better than ourselves. I attempt to provide many opportunities for co learners to practice kindness, courtesy, and reverence throughout the school year.

To this I must add, it is impossible for people of character to work for people who lack character. I do not mean they are characters, like the Laurel and Hardy characters. I mean they are ethical people, not concerned only with themselves, but are consumed by the passion of serving others. I was recently shocked to discover that my housemate works with unethical people while at the same time impressed at how she handled the situation. I know me, I would be screaming, ranting, spouting in German; it would not be pretty. But she displayed why veterans’ services at her university is moving up the military friendly ranks with her at the helm. Just a note that the university she left does not now appear on the military friendly list at all.


but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God