Articles From the November 1994 Unification News


Art Of Virtue

Contributed by George L. Rogers

A HeartWing subscriber who works at the Covey Leadership Center sent me a draft of an excellent curriculum written by George Rogers. It focuses on character development for grades K-8 and provides interesting ways to engage children in discussions about attitude, self-respect, thinking, personal responsibility, etc. I used parts of it with the teens trained this summer. I asked George to explain what he is doing and how he got into it. If you contact him, please mention that you learned about him through HeartWing: George Rogers, Acorn Publishing, PO Box 44153, Eden Prairie, MN 55344,612 934-4432.

Briefly what I am trying to do with Acorn Publishing is to create and distribute resource materials for parents and teachers to help them engage young people in conversations about honesty, respect, personal responsibility, and other important topics related to their character development. My belief is that many parents and teachers would like to do more, but just don't quite know how or don't have interesting and stimulating ways to broach these topics. The reason I am doing it is because I believe there is a need and I care very much about young people and would like them to be given better tools and perspectives for making the important decisions in their lives. I also believe that most children want to understand better how to make good decisions and how to avoid behaviors that will get them into serious problems.

In 1986 I edited and published a book of Benjamin Franklin's writings, titled Benjamin Franklin's The Art of Virtue. When Franklin was a young man of only 26 in 1732, he conceived the idea of writing such a book. He felt that many people lead bad lives who would gladly live good lives if only they knew how to make the change. He collected materials and experimented with ideas on this theme for over 50 years of his life, always planning to write such a book. Unfortunately, with the press of his busy life, he was never able to complete this work, but attempted to address some of the thoughts he had in his autobiography. I came across and purchased a set of his writings. In reading them, I saw many things I wanted to share with my children, and realized that these were perhaps the same thoughts he had wanted to include in the book he wanted to write, which he planned to title, The Art of Virtue.

After The Art of Virtue was published, a friend of mine, who teaches in the Minneapolis public schools, gave a copy to her father. He liked it and told her that the schools ought to be teaching this kind of material. She told me the story, and I felt that perhaps it would be worthwhile to try to come up with something that could be used by teachers and that would facilitate parent involvement as well.

I have devoted over two and one-half years full-time effort to developing the Acorn Series. In April of 1993, 115 elementary and middle school teachers piloted a first draft set of the materials. They liked them very much, offered some important suggestions, and then I developed the second draft set. These were used by several teachers in seven elementary schools over the 1993-94 school year. Again with very positive response and helpful suggestions.

My plan has been to take these suggestions and go to the next level of refinement which then would be published into a marketable product with nice covers and well-drawn pictures. Also the intent is to have material that may be used by families at home in support of what the teacher is doing at school.

George sent me a copy of The Art of Virtue, Mac and Zach from Hackensack, a delightful children's story about aptitude, attitude, and happiness, and a poem, "The Mighty Genghis Kahn, A Tale of Anger and Remorse." All are excellent.-VC


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