In the supermarket, I ran into someone I know who was delighted to hear that I was looking for a job and offered me a position working under her designing "character education" programs for the county schools.
Though theCSO has said we're fine financially and I should look for something that really fits, even a casual job offer felt good. I've had a bull-in-a-china-shop day where I found out I did something that really offended someone I like a lot and wrote a long letter to someone else in which I'm pretty sure I said all the wrong things but can't for the life of me imagine what the right things were.
Anyway, the job only being two days a week made it easy to turn down, but I'm pretty sure I wasn't suited for it anyway. I'm not sure I am philisophically OK with character education in the first place. It's weird to hear people say that liberals are morally relative. The hardcore liberals I know aren't morally relative in the least. They are just as convinced as the hardcore conservatives that they know what is best for the world and everyone should do as they do. Neither hardcore liberal nor hardcore conservative values are mine.
People's characters are different. And different people are going to find different traits to be the most important and different families raise their kids to focus on different values. As a kid, my parents were big on loyalty to one's various commitments. The CSO's family was big on being open with one another. (We found out how different those values really were the first time a good friend told me a secret that she didn't want me to tell anyone. Eventually he found out from someone else and I mentioned that I'd known. To me, keeping the secret was the natural act of a good friend. To him, my keeping something from him was a big deal. We worked it out, but I can easily see how we both got where we are from the families we came from, though certainly a less pop-psychy explanation is possible. )
My favorite way of "teaching morality" is vicariously through literature. Most books of any quality have moral questions at their centers. As a junior high school kid, I was having some fairly sophisticated thoughts about the nature of good and evil that were inspired by Piers Anothony's Incarnations of Immortality series. Surely looking at what different characters value in great works of literature can get much the same message across, and in a way that will resonate far more than a more typical character education lesson could.
Besides, I have a large bias against the subject because I attended a day-long character education seminar when I was in high school. It was so very painful that when a kid who had mercilessly teased me in Junior High school dropped his wallet as he turned to leave, I almost didn't tell him lest somebody think the attempts to morally educate me had been successful.
But "don't be a jerk" has always been the heart of my moral code and when I saw him drop the wallet, I yelled after him anyway.
What can I say? I'm a girl scout.
whose husband just leaned over the computer and said that a job teaching kids how to be characters is right up my alley.