The Character Olympics

By Barbara Gruener

The pageantry and passion of the Olympics this past month got me to thinking about the upcoming school year and sparked this inquiry: How can we prepare our students to be Character Olympians in the classroom? And that question brought about this visual representation of going for the gold, because Character Always Wins.

Each student in the image above represents a Pillar of Character and holds an information card about his or her gold medal along with a question that makes the bulletin board interactive:

*I am a trustworthy friend. What do you think I did to show trustworthiness and earn my gold medal?

*I am respectful. What do you suppose that I did to show respect and win the gold?

*I am a responsible student. I wonder if you can figure out what I did to show responsibility and win.

*I always try to be fair. Do you know how hard that is sometimes? What did I do to get the gold?

*I am a caring child. Did you know that even little kids can do big things? Can you guess how I earned gold?

*I am a good citizen. Can you name some of the things I probably did to become a gold medalist?

Our students are training every day to be kids with character; their character muscles grow stronger every time they’re given problems to solve and real-life scenarios to think through and reflect upon. Every single one of them can medal in the Character Olympics. When we focus on their character strengths and lift them up when they fall down with our caring thoughts, affirming words, and helpful deeds, then we equip them to do the same. Never underestimate the power of your model as you coach, mentor, guide and support them this year.

Did you see those Procter and Gamble spots on Raising An Olympian? The one that resonated the most with me featured Shawn Johnson. Click here to read and watch as her mom shares Shawn’s story. Better yet, share it with your students. And while Shawn wasn’t actually a member of this year’s Fab Five women’s gymnastics team, she continues to be an incredible role model both in and out of the gymnastics spotlight.

I am energized by the dedication and drive, perseverance and pride of those outstanding Olympians. I’m so eager to share that enthusiasm with our families at our Meet And Greet on Thursday and then again on our first day back and in our first weeks and months of the 2012-2013 school year. This year holds so much promise; what do you have planned for your Character Olympians?

Read more from Barbara Gruener at her blog here.