Children watch nation’s character

DEAR EDITOR:

Years ago, when I worked in manufacturing, it was imperative that people discuss issues and ideas in order to build consensus. Consensus building involves collaborating to reach decisions that all parties can accept. It is not everyone giving in to one person or group’s ideas. It requires genuine discussion and respect for all persons. Ideas may be criticized, but not the people who express them. The consensus process can be powerful in stimulating creativity and solutions to a variety of problems be they simple or complex.

In education, it is highly recommended that students learn to work collaboratively. Again, ideas may be criticized but not the person. You work together to reach a common goal. You may have different backgrounds, beliefs, social / economic levels, and abilities, but you work together, in an attitude of respect, towards that goal. There are also several programs available that help students develop their character strengths. So, it is not simply working together, but working responsibly with integrity, kindness, respect and caring (just to name a few traits), etc. Martin Luther King Jr. said that his dream was that his children would live in a nation where character is what matters.

Those words tugged at my heart when I was a little girl, and I have held them dear ever since. Character matters. I do pray that our leaders and those in the media remember Dr. King’s call to be people of character. It is not for one group of people to demand that only their ideas be valued. And never should any person, in any walk of life, do harm or incite another to do harm. Life is sacred. We have been and are a nation of laws, laws which guard our lives and our freedoms. But we must remember that with freedom comes responsibility. Yes, our nation and our communities face challenges. If our leaders and those in the media look to the best that is in each human being, including themselves, and temper their words and actions with kindness and respect in order to build genuine consensus (decisions that all parties can accept), their work can be done. If we all did the same within our communities our work would also be done.

Our country will then move forward. One nation, one people — people of character.

I pray they do. I pray we do. Our children are watching.

EVELYN JONES

Boardman

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