In today’s ever-changing society, it is our duty as parents and educators to prepare our children to face the unique moral challenges they will come upon in life. It is also up to us to educate the whole person, which includes character. For these reasons, Catholic schools incorporate a strong emphasis on values and Gospel truths in everything that we do.
In our blogs we talk a lot about how the Catholic curriculum integrates academics with core values and Gospel truths. We define core values as having respect for others, cherishing family and community, and working for a socially just and moral world. Now in this blog, we want to take a look at the Catholic schools’ specific emphasis on character values.
To begin with, Catholic schools embrace the concept of the Six Pillars of Character. The six pillars are ethical values that are not based in cultural, religious or political beliefs. Instead, they are general character traits that will help students make good decisions and live moral lives. These values are:
Surely we can all agree that these are desirable traits, and we would be proud of our children for living by them. However, in Catholic schools, our character education goes above and beyond the six pillars. As you will see, the following traits are also essential for success in the classroom and beyond.
Hard work and Commitment: We hold all of our students to the highest standards and expect them to honor commitments, work hard and do their best. Our high test scores, graduation rates and further education statistics show our commitment to this value.
Discipline: The philosophy of Catholic school teaching relies on a structured environment with clear rules and routines that are consistently implemented. Classroom discipline creates a safe learning environment for all learners, but also teaches the individual students self-control. Self-control, or self-regulation, is necessary in all aspects of life.
Cooperation, Patience and Tolerance: Life is not a solo journey, and many times we rely on others. But unfortunately, we all know that sometimes due to personality differences or misaligned goals, working together isn’t easy. However, as adults, we must learn to practice patience and cooperation because we are all in this together — a fact that is particularly true in the workplace.
Humility and Forgiveness: Merriam-Webster defines humility as: the quality or state of not thinking you are better than other people. Again, we are all in this together, and only when we recognize that we all have faults can we truly be forgiving of others. Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Our schools practice humility through embracing diversity and welcoming everyone into our community.
The schools in the Archdiocese of Hartford believe that instilling Gospel truths, core values and emphasizing character education are essential components of nourishing our students’ minds, bodies and souls. As our children move through grades and life experiences, we provide them with tools that will allow them to grow into the virtuous human beings we can view with pride. And on top of it all, we provide them with an exceptional academic curriculum that will help them be successful in their future careers as doctors, lawyers, scientists, web developers, managers, you name it!
In what ways have you witnessed Catholic schools build character? Let us know in the comment section below.