There’s No School Like Home

By Ed DeRoche

I was home-schooled, not in math or science, but in character and behavior. I had co-instructors both of whom graduated from the 8th grade – my Mother and Father. My Father was French but didn’t speak it. My Mother was Irish but spoke fluent French (long story). My Father was a shoe salesman, and my Mother sold dresses in a women’s clothing store.

They were on the same page in all things related to the character and behavior for each of their four kids. Here are a few things they taught us (with tongue-in-cheek).

Entitlement: Don’t get the idea that you are entitled anything. The world was here first; it doesn’t owe you a living.

Religion: You better pray that when your Mother and I come home from work you have all your chores done and haven’t fought with your sister or brothers.

Logic: You want to know why? Because I said so. If you two are going to kill each other, do it outside.

Irony: Keep crying and we’ll give you something to cry about.

Perseverance: You are not leaving this table until you eat all of the spinach.

Wisdom: When you get to be our age only then will you understand what we are saying.

Justice: One day you will have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you.

Heritage: You’re just like your Father!

Patience: Just wait until we get home from work, then you will know!

Humility: Don’t ever think you are better than anyone else, because you are not.

Trust: If your Mother comes home from the conference with your teacher and it is not a good report, trust me, you’ll hear about it and won’t like what you hear.

To add to the “advice” from my parents, I have selected four of many “pieces of advice” offered by author Rodolfo Costa, Advice My Parents Gave Me: and Other Lessons I Learned from My Mistakes.

1. Learn to love someone when they least deserve it, because that is when they need your love most.

2. Many people are so poor that the only thing they have is money. Cultivate your spiritual growth.

3. Learn to adapt. Things change, circumstances change. Adjust yourself and your efforts to what is presented to you so you can respond accordingly. Never see change as a threat, because it can be an opportunity to learn, to grow, evolve and become a better person.

4. When you experience a negative circumstance or event, do not dwell on it. Be proactive — put your attention on what you need to do to bring the situation to a positive result.
Feel free to add your home-schooled “character” learnings here.

A New Year Reminder
“The best teacher is not necessarily the one who possesses the most knowledge, but the one who most effectively enables the students to believe in their ability to learn.” -Norman Cousins, American political journalist, author, professor

Edward DeRoche, Ph.D., Director Character Education Resource Center
University of San Diego
5998 Alcala Park, San Diego, CA 92110
(619) 260-2250





May I Quote You?

May I Quote You?

I’ve been reading the U.S. Department of Education’s newsletter, The Teachers Edition. One of the items appearing in each issue is called “What Teachers Are Talking About This Week.”
Here are the teacher quotes from the October 25, 2017 edition.

“No dream is to impossible to reach. That’s what drives my teaching every day with my students!” — Teacher, Tennessee

“Strive to be the type of teacher that brings passion and positive energy to the classroom every day!” — Teacher, New Jersey

“A teacher should always teach like a principal is watching; a principal should always lead like their teachers are watching.” — Principal, Indiana.

“Be bold. Say what needs to be said. Others may be thinking the same, and if no one speaks up, the opportunity is lost.” — Principal, Wisconsin

”Three of the best words to tell kids: Proud of You! Repeat often.” — Teacher, Missouri

That sparks an idea. How about a blog of quotes about what character is and why we teach it? I thought it was a good idea but you can be the judge.

What Is Character?

“Character Development is a relational process. Character is a construct that links the person positively to his or her social world. Relationships are the foundation of character.” – Tuft’s Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development:

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities. What we make of our selves, what we make of our lives, is a matter of choice—our choice, and our responsibility.”  Paraphrased — Harry Potter’s being counseled by the wise old headmaster, Dumbledore

“The word CHARACTER has two Cs in it ; one stands for CHOICE and the other for CONSEQUENCES. Living a life of good character doesn’t happen by CHANCE, nor does it happen by CIRCUMSTANCES. It happens by CHOICES.”  – Ed DeRoche

“Excellence is never an accident. It is the result of high intention, sincere effort and intelligent execution. It represents the wisest option among many alternatives. Choice, not chance, determines your destiny, dreams and values.” – Aristotle

“Character is the willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life – it is the source from which self respect springs.” – Joan Didion

“Respect for character is always diminished in proportion to the number among whom the blame or praise is to be divided…. Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”  -Abraham Lincoln

Why Teach Character?

“How can we expect our children to know and experience the joy of living unless we teach them that the greater pleasure in life lies in the art of giving rather than receiving.”  – James Cash Penny—founder of J.C. Penney Corporation

“Most people say that it is the intellect which makes a great scientist. They are wrong: It is character.”  – Albert Einstein,

“If we expect children to behave in school, we must teach them to take responsibility for their behavior; but we must also teach them how to make better choices, how to develop personal ethics, and how to solve problems.” – LouAnne Johnson, Principal

“Many teachers say: I have no time to teach character  – I have too much on my plate already. That’s like saying: I’m cooking dinner but there is no time to make it nutritious!” – CJ Moloney

“The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called ‘truth.'”  – Dan Rather

“If we don’t teach kids moral reasoning skills, including how to challenge appropriately (non-moral) conventional issues, we may be engaging in immoral education.”  –Larry Nucci, Psychology Professor

“Academic test scores do not correlate with any of the
virtues to which our democracy aspires. None!
Good education provides a sense of community,
personal identity, inner strength, purpose, meaning, and
belonging. ” – Dr. John Goodlad

“Parents (and teachers) can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands. —Anne Frank
The virtues of men are of more consequence to society than their abilities; and for this reason, the heart should be cultivated with more assiduity than the head.”  – Noah Webster, American lexicographer

As noted above, character is about relationships.
Relationships are about choices.
Included in one’s choice should be ”respect.”

“Honest communication is built on truth and integrity and upon respect of the one for the other.”  – Benjamin E. Mays, American civil rights icon

“Respect for ourselves guides our morals, respect for others guides our manners.” – Laurence Sterne, Irish novelist and an Anglican clergyman.

Send us your quote about teaching and/or your favorite character-related quote.