RonRon is small for a second grade boy, but he more than makes up for his stature with his fearlessness. No one crosses RonRon! He wouldn’t think twice about taking on an opponent twice his size. That quality has earned RonRon the respect of the other boys, who follow his lead.
Recently, RonRon exploded over something that happened in after-school program (I think someone took his toy). He was fuming, screaming threats and ready to fight. I explained to RonRon that when someone loses their temper it actually makes them look weak and out of control. I went on to say that in contrast, when someone controls their anger, they project strength. “RonRon,” I said, “I know you aren’t weak. You are a strong leader. Why don’t you show that to people?”
A couple of days later, the children were lining up prior to boarding the van to go home. Every day they beg to be chosen for the front seat. On this day I selected Sharon for his good behavior. While some of the kids were envious and upset, RonRon went up to Sharon and said “Congratulations Sharon, well done”. Sure enough the next day, when someone else was chosen for the front seat, Sharon went up to them and said “Well done”. It has since spread and is becoming part of our culture. That’s leadership! RonRon learned to use his strength and influence to lead his peers in a positive way!
Character isn’t something you can drill on every day, like you would the times tables. You must be observant to catch children in the act—and then encourage desirable behaviors and discourage undesirable ones. Recent research indicates that character counts more even than cognitive skills as a predictor of future success. Character traits such as self-control, gratitude, resilience, curiosity and perseverance have been shown to help children overcome the disadvantages of growing up in an impoverished and stressful environment.
Isn’t it interesting that the Apostle Paul should have said a very similar thing in his letter to the Galatian church in the 1st Century A.D.—
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Thanks for supporting us as we seek to instill Christian virtues in our young charges!