Working in schools, and institutions around the state of Ohio I have noticed the movement to teach principles, values and etc.. under the label of character building. This is a important step for our children because a strong character goes a long way. It gives the individual ideas that can support them during hard times and gives them a measuring rod that can be used to evaluate their choices in life. For me this is where the problem begins. Being a veteran of the Rites of Passage movement, I see the same mistake being repeated. We want to change the children as if they are the problem. Any process of change that is implemented has to be done with the whole family in mind. We can teach the children some powerful concepts and ideas, but because we have not empowered their parents with the same tools the children will be put into a strange and in some cases a dangerous situation. The question that I am constantly confronted by is how do we include the entire family into the process so that change will happen with the whole family rather than just with the powerless children. The answer is simple in concept but hard to implement. If we really want to change our children we have to attack the the family unit, and this can be done by using the institution that these families are plugged into and receive services from, like the schools and social service institutions that many of these families deal with. For example the schools need to act as an extension of the families that they serve. Providing programs not only for the children but for the family as a whole. The school would have to make some of these services mandatory for the families involved. By doing this the family as a whole could be exposed to the principles that are being taught to the children.
The adults need to be checked and begin to realize that some of the ideas that they have been living with is not bringing them success and will not bring it to their children either. They need to be challenged on their bullshit and receive some true character building activities, as well as some basic life skills that will help their families as well as their children prosper.
Peace & 1hunidyears