October 1, 2002
Russell T. Williams
KIDS OF CHARACTERsm Russell T. Williams Article 122 The Morally Mature Person One of America’s outstanding character educators is Gene Bedley. A national educator of the year, Gene has dedicated the last dozen years of his professional life to the work of values and ethics for America’s kids. He travels the country lecturing educators on what is needed to develop America’s kids of character.
In one of his writings that appears in Essential Ethics Education for Teens, Gene asks the question: What kind of human being do we want to emerge from our efforts at moral education? What are the characteristics of the morally mature person?
He addresses the two questions by identifying six major characteristics which are derived from universal moral and democratic principles. Gene comments that these characteristics “offer schools and communities a context for discourse about school programs and moral training.”
Gene identifies that the morally mature person habitually demonstrates the following six characteristics:
v Respects human dignity, which includes showing regard for the worth and rights of all persons.
v Cares about the welfare of others, which includes recognizing interdependence among people.
v Integrates individual interest and social responsibilities, which includes doing a fair share of community work.
v Demonstrates integrity, which includes practicing diligence.
v Reflects on moral choices, which includes applying moral principles (such as the golden rule) when making moral judgments.
v Seeks peaceful resolution of conflict, which includes striving for the fair resolution of personal and social conflicts.
In general, Gene states that the “morally mature person understands universal moral principles and accepts responsibility for applying them.” These six principles represent benchmark character lessons for the development of 21st century kids of character.
To learn more about Gene Bedley’s work, contact his website at www.ethicsusa.com.
Russell Williams is President of Passkeys Foundation~Jefferson Center for Character Education. For more information contact 949.770.7602 or www.jeffersoncenter.org. Passkeys Foundation~Jefferson Center for Character Education P.O. Box 4137 Mission Viejo, CA 92690-4137