The Character Movement


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


Reflective Parenting: The Case of the Pool Mom

On one of those days of 90-degree heat in August, I took Tess to our local pool for a swimming lesson. As she was getting in the water with her instructor, a mother and her son made a loud and harried entrance. The little boy was throwing a fit. He didn’t want to swim today. At first the mom tried gentle encouragement, but the more her child refused the less patient she became. The “it’s time for your lesson” sing-song turned into the exasperated “mommy gets her own time too” which finally degenerated into a shout, “If you don’t get into the water right now, you won’t get to play with your Legos when you get home!” At this point the little boy completely lost it and fell on to the deck crying.READ MORE


You Matter in the Character Movement

A mother I know recently visited her college-aged daughter who had the good fortune of studying in London for a semester. On the flight over she prepared herself to go into “mom mode” in case her daughter wasn’t making good decisions and acting with good character. The mother had a mental list of all the things she was going to check up on (eating right, being safe when out at night, etc.), but at the last moment she decided to take more of a “wait and see” approach.READ MORE