The Character Movement


The Magic of Enough

On a trip not too long ago to Target, Tess and I were in the checkout line when she saw a Disney Cinderella doll. She took it off the shelf and put it in our cart. I took the doll out and put it back. “But, Daddy,” Tess said, “I need that.”READ MORE


Tikkun Olam – Inspiring Our Kids to Repair the World

In the fall of 2008, I visited with a friend of mine whose son, Steven*, had just been cut from his high school basketball team. Steven was a competitive kid who attended a competitive school in an affluent, first-tier suburb of Minneapolis – and he loved basketball. Not only was Steven disappointed, but his pride was wounded. He wasn’t part of a school culture where failure was taken lightly. Furthermore, as a junior, Steven had a lot of high school ahead of him and legitimately wondered what to do with all the time he had set aside for basketball glory. READ MORE


What Defines a School

I once met a school bus driver named Donna who hated driving the school bus. She was new to the job and had only accepted it out of financial necessity. Because she was new, Donna was given one of the worst routes in the system. When she first started, the kids ignored her efforts to keep them in their seats. They fought with each other. They showed little respect to her. READ MORE


Be Aware of Your Shadow

A friend of mine told me a story about the time she and her husband went to France with their 11-year-old daughter. The daughter had been taking French lessons and the parents were very proud of her accomplishments. They were so proud of her, in fact, that they had their daughter act as an informal translator on the trip. For the most part the daughter did great, but one day the family was running late for a train. In the bustle and confusion at the station, the daughter got overwhelmed and couldn’t figure out how to use the automatic ticket kiosk. She broke down crying and the parents realized that they had put too much responsibility on her shoulders. A well-intentioned idea had an unfortunate impact.READ MORE