Fri Apr 9th, 2021
Tags: Advocate, Bee Heard, Encourage, Good Behavior, Good Character, Ignacio Community Church, local Native Americans, Local Resources, Model, Prevention Coalition Meetings, Resiliency, Second Wind Fund of the Four Corners, Six Pillars of Character Counts, St. Ignatius Catholic Church, Teach, Tip Hotline, Women’s Resource Center, young people, youth
What is a good character and how does it build resiliency? Some traits of good character can be things such as honesty, integrity, loyalty, and fortitude. These virtues characterize good behavior that can influence the choices we make in our lives, especially for young people. When young people are taught at an early age the meaning of these traits, allowed to practice each trait, and then be recognized for them, they start to build a strong foundation of who they want to be.
When young people learn good behavior, they make better choices as they go through life. So, we must help young people learn what these good behaviors are and encourage them to make healthy positive choices. When they make healthy choices, they are less likely to use substances and less likely to experience a mental health crisis.
How do we as parents, family, or adults build good character in youth?
Building good character in youth takes time and it doesn’t happen overnight. There are many people and influences inside and outside the home that can build and shape your youth. Here are some tips on how to teach character, based on what The Robert D. and Billie Ray Center’s “A Family’s Guide to Teaching Good Character” calls T.E.A.M.
TEACH children that their Character Counts: We must teach our children about the Six Pillars of Character, what each Pillar means, and what it looks like and does not look like in action.
ENCOURAGE the Six Pillars of Character: Reward good behavior (usually praise is enough) and discourage bad behavior by imposing fair and consistent consequences.
ADVOCATE Character: Continually encourage children to live up to the Six Pillars of Character by explaining and showing why demonstrating the Pillars matters.
MODEL Good Behavior: Everything you say and do (or neglect to do) sends a message about your values. Be sure that these messages reinforce your lessons about doing the right thing, even when it is difficult. When you slip, be accountable; apologize sincerely, and do better. What are the Six Pillars of Character?
The Six Pillars of Character are:
We can all agree that these traits are important to our community and our values, something we can all get behind. There are more traits that you can add but these have been proven to support good choices by building good behaviors within young people.
How do we use this tool in our home?
By using “A Family’s Guide to Teaching Good Character” you can use a variety of ways to teach character to the youth in your life. Here are some ways to do that: (1) Pick which Pillar of Character you want to focus on that month, (2) introduce the pillar to your youth, (3) refer to the guide for ideas on how to teach, encourage, advocate, and model that pillar, and (4) have a discussion with your youth about different scenarios and questions they might have around that pillar.
For example, let’s use the Trustworthiness Pillar. We would want to use T.E.A.M. to TEACH our youth about being trustworthy, ENCOURAGE them by talking about times in your life and theirs too, when it was hard to be honest, or keeping promises and why it mattered, ADVOCATING by talking to them about how honesty builds trust and how trust impacts our relationships, and last but not least, MODEL good behavior by doing what you said you would do. Some ways to get the discussion started could be asking them how lying can break trust, or what makes an adult trustworthy, or what could we do better or differently to be more trustworthy?
Want to learn more? For more information about “A Family’s Guide to Teaching Good Character” check out www.CharacterCounts.org. This guide is a project of The Robert D. and Billie Ray Center at Drake University. A Family’s Guide to Teaching Good Character introduces families to the Six Pillars and provides ideas for adults to help teach good character in the home, school, and community. CHARACTER COUNTS! and the Six Pillars of Character are trademarks of the Josephson Institute of Ethics.
You can also reach out to the Southern Ute Behavioral Health Division to request a digital copy of the guide to help you build up your skills and tools for raising or working with young people.
Want to help and be a part of the change? WE NEED YOU! We are looking for community members and youth to join the Prevention Coalition tasked to reduce youth substance usage, eliminate mental health stigma, and start the discussion around suicide and prevention.
Why a virtual talking circle for youth? It’s been a tough year and we want to support our Native American Youth by providing a relaxed and informal space to come and chat about what’s going on, or whatever is on your mind. Our GOAL is to support you in living a happy and healthy life.
To register or for more information, please contact Stephanie Garcia at firstname.lastname@example.org or Lisa Pratchett at email@example.com.
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