Moral Education

The moral education parents provide their children is perhaps
even more important than the love parents feel for their children.
A child's character is formed by the moral education from the

Good character keeps us on the right path and helps us in
troubled times.  Poor character will lead the richest, best
educated, most powerful person into failure.

The Early Years

Parents work on their child's character development from birth,
whether they know it or not.  It is good for the schools to support
moral education and the early years are the best years for that.  
The foundation is laid in K - 3, and we can continue to nurture
character development in 4th and 5th grades.  From 6th through
12th grade, we can try to keep our children on track, but it is
generally too late to start character development.

Parental Leadership

The schools should support character development, but parents
need to lead that effort.  Parents need a coherent system of
ethics and morality they believe in, they practice, and they teach
to their children.  Many parents have religious convictions, and
that can work well within the family and church.  It is difficult, if not
impossible, for a public school to become involved with religion.

Morality and Public Education

It would be good to find a system of ethics that is not linked to a
religion that can be embraced by parents of all religious
persuasions.  A non-religious system of ethic could bridge
religious differences and be compatible with public education.

There are excellent books from the Chinese culture that could be
useful.  After years of promoting the
Analects and the Great
, I have decided the work of Cicero might be more
accessible because it is a part of Western culture.


Cicero's work, On Duties (De Officiis), is a brilliant book on
practical morality. Cicero wrote the book for his 21year old son.

Parents can read this book, digest it, and pass along its lessons
to their children.  We cannot hand  this book to young children,
but we can extract its lessons, exemplify the noble character it
describes, and use its wisdom to guide our children.  The lessons
De Officiis can be used in public schools, but it is up to
parents and educators to work together to make that happen.

Augustine, in his Confessions, said Cicero and Plato helped
prepare him for Christianity.  Great people from the past have
had their lives enriched by studying Cicero and Plato. To prepare
our children for the challenges of a turbulent and competitive
future, we should help them study Cicero and Plato.

Better Leaders for a Better Future

America, the whole world, is coming into difficult times.  Our
leaders today have
not been as successful as our great leaders
of the past.  To safeguard our children's future, we cannot leave
it to chance to deliver great leaders to us, we must take control of
our own destiny. We need better leaders for a better future, so
we should work to develop our children into better leaders.  Good
character is a vital quality of good leaders, so character
development is a vital part of education.

Modeling Leadership for Our Children

We teach our children by what we do.  To teach our children
leadership, we show them how it is done.  Plano parents
gathered and discussed our hopes and goals for our children's
and grandchildren's future.  A copy of our goals is
here on this
website.  We plan to meet again to discuss working on these

Other Sources Related to Character Education

The Six Pillars of Character is from the Josephson Institute.

Center for the 4th and 5th R's is from the State University of
New York, Cortland.
Timeless Way Foundation

Copyright © 2008-2013 Robert Canright