As my children have grown, I would add one more trait to Tough's list: comprehending complexity. While checking into a flight at the airport this morning, my eight year old asked me if it was true that Americans were racist.
Our children, our young people, the ones we've been spouting all our positive mottos to, they are the witnesses, and sometimes the imitators, of the most distressing display of all: our blind hypocrisy.
The problem is that the law, schools and parents are treating bullying as if it's the beginning of the story, something to react to and treat. And the thinking of far too many school officials is that an occasional assembly is an adequate measure for them to check this issue off their list.
If we are to reverse the trend of violence and environmental destruction on our planet, we need many, many more such people. It's time for a Manhattan Project focused on our most wasted resource: our capacity for good.
There are now a multitude of character education programs being implemented in schools all across the United States. While in principle it might be important to teach character, one might ask, "Is it effective? What is it good for? Does it ultimately help academic performance?"
Students must be taught that treating peers with disrespect will limit their success. If students are to grow, learn, and become productive adults, they must be taught how specific behaviors control their destiny.