Saturday, June 5, 2010

Character Counts: The Six Pillars

The healthy human brain can hold no more than 6 or 7 pieces of information at a time in short term memory. Yes, it's a limitation. That's the reason phone numbers, which have 10 digits, are presented in three chunks, as in 278-555-9012. But this limitation exists for a reason. If there were no limit to conscious awareness, the working brain would  be overwhelmed with input. It couldn't think.

Maybe that's why Josephson gave his character model only six pillars. Because of course there are dozens of distinct character strengths, not just six. Wisely, he enriches his model by relating each of the "pillars" to several concepts. 

This is especially helpful, because his model was constructed for kids as a centerpiece of his Character Counts movement, which many communities have adopted to help young people become conscious of the importance of character.

My passionate interest is what I call "personal strength," which is strongly related to character strength. A good deal of what I include in this concept is what Josephson and others refer to as character.

Watch this short video to get an idea of what the six pillars are all about...

The Josephson Institute believes you can teach character to people in the classroom. They've developed standard curricula for adoption by schools and communities.

Character counts when it is manifested in behavior. And not much of what is presented in a classroom is ever translated to behavior. Behavior patterns are learned through consistent application in the real world. Follow-up role modeling, coaching and encouragement are what count in character development.

Nevertheless, you can raise awareness in the classroom. You can introduce concepts. For kids, this is probably a great way to start. If you're interested, you can visit the Character Counts website.

Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2010. Building Personal Strength .

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