Evaluating the “content of our character”

Martin Luther King speech dream content of characterMany of us know the epic words of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous "I have a dream..." speech.  It's probably the most famous of the many he made on the topic of civil rights and equality, and it's the one most frequently shown on media clips.  Most people know the "I have a dream..." part of the speech, but how many really know what comes after the popular soundbyte?  I think, today, on the day we remember him, it's appropriate that we stop and consider the message he shared.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

Hopefully, we have made progress in judging based on color of skin -- although one could certainly argue that we are often as polarized by race today as we were nearly 50 years ago (but that's a topic best left for another day).

But, let's analyze the second part. If we are to be judged by the "content of [our] character," what does that mean for us today?  I think it's interesting to consider what Dr. King would see, were he alive today. What has happened to our individual -- not to mention, collective -- character? (more…)

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Education: Intelligence PLUS Character

"The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically... Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education." - Martin Luther King, Jr.martin luther king jr goal for education character intelligence

I've always liked that quote because I think it really says what the goal of education should really be. I also think it sets a precedence for why we need to focus on teaching character in schools. While I don't believe that our schools should be responsible for all aspects of education, I also know that too many of our children are not learning critical character and lifeskills that they need.  When they don't, not only do they suffer in school but they continue to lag behind in the skills they need to be successful in life.

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