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Character Matters: How to Help Our Children Develop Good Judgment, Integrity, and Other Essential Virtues Paperback – February 10, 2004

17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In his timely follow-up to the definitive Educating for Character, Lickona plucks the burden of moral corruption from society at large and plants it squarely in the laps of parents and teachers. He describes a society nearly bereft of character, and proposes that the solution is to awaken children's social consciences. Through a series of grim statistics and anecdotes from his research as a psychologist and educator, Lickona illuminates a culture that is lost (but not hopelessly), due largely to an overemphasis on academic achievement in lieu of formal character education. "The disturbing behaviors that bombard us daily-violence, greed, corruption, incivility, drug abuse, sexual immorality, and a poor work ethic-have a common core: the absence of good character." He defines 10 essential virtues that comprise good character and prescribes a six-part remedy, including modeling virtuous behavior, building a strong home-school partnership and getting involved with communities. Quotes from Aristotle, Martin Luther King Jr. and others make more eloquent points for why character matters, but the author's passion for creating a more civil and harmonious world is evident and inspiring. Lickona admits that changing the moral fiber of an entire generation is a lofty goal and that his solutions are ambitious: "The social-moral problems that beset our society have deep roots and require systematic solutions." However, this book can be one small step along that path, if it finds its way into the right hands.
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Review

Hal Urban author of Life's Greatest Lessons Our job as parents and teachers is to bring out the best in our kids. This marvelous book can be of immeasurable help.

Dr. Stephen R. Covey author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People What an absolutely marvelous book! Greatly needed in restoring the character ethic in a techno/materialistic-obsessed world. Character is primary greatness; prestige is secondary greatness. Extremely valuable practical resource for every parent and teacher. Great gift book.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; First Edition edition (February 10, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743245075
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743245074
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #222,484 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Reba on July 18, 2006
Format: Paperback
I wish this book would be required reading for every school administrator, teacher, and parent. I have been a public school educator for 25 years. I am also a parent and a grandparent.

I found this book to be extremely refreshing in a time where "No Child Left Behind" has taken us too far in the wrong direction. Yes, we want to set high academic expectations for our children and yes, we do want accountability. But what good are high test scores if there is more cheating, dishonesty, cynicism, and disrespect for others? This book, along with many others on Character Education, is a call back to common sense in education: Let's not only raise our expectations for academic achievement, but also for honesty, integrity, responsibility, work ethic, and respect for others. The current NCLB legislation (with its emphasis on high stakes testing) has taken the focus away from educating the whole child. Current education research shows this is not best practice; this is not in the best interest of the child or of our society! This book provides inspiration and hope for educating the whole child. It provides many practical suggestions and ideas for making our homes, schools, and communities a much more civil place to live and learn. If educators, legislators, and parents would read this book and put it's ideas into practice, we would be making a positive difference!
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30 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Anonymous on July 22, 2007
Format: Paperback
While this book started off strong, with great definitions and explorations of character, the author goes off on some specific tangents that disrupt from the books central theme and detract from the message. While the author is entitled to his position on abortion, he takes for granted that all people must feel the same way, and spends time on at how many weeks fetal heartbeat is detected to further his position. Interesting in an anti-abortion book, but came out of left field in the chapter he was writing here. Similarly, he takes for granted that all parents naturally want to teach their children that masturbation is immoral, and suggests that if your teen self-identifies as homosexual that you should try to take them to a psychiatrist to get that fixed. Again, a lot of parents might feel this way, but he makes assumptions and then goes off on tangents.
He also uses some questionable data and doesn't support some of his statistics with verifiable sources. For example, he says that homosexual young women are at a higher risk for STDs than heterosexual women (completely untrue) He obviously supports abstinence-based sex education in schools, but doesn't talk about the studies that show that teens who pledge to remain virgins until marriage are more likely to substitute high-risk behaviors that lead to STDs (Journal of Adolescent Health) and are less prepared to handle temptation when they are asked to use willpower alone to manage the risks that can be consequences of adolescent hormones.
I started off loving this book, and dog-eared and high-lighted several pages in the first few chapters, and ignored the first few questionable statistics and tangents, but it got worse and worse, until I felt uncomfortable continuing to read it, like I was reading a parenting book by Jerry Falwell.
One character-building book I'd recommend instead is Character Building Activities For Kids.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amanda P. on June 29, 2007
Format: Paperback
As a graduate student going into the field of school counseling, I found this book extremely interesting and useful. Of all the books I have been assigned to read for classes, this one is by far the best. The ideas and activities Thomas Lickona has come up with for building character and morality in students is phenominal. His ideas are so creative yet simple at the same time. They are also realistic and very diverse for all ages. If you are in the field of education, a parent, or someone just interested in this topic, this book is a MUST! I believe if all educators looked at character education the way Thomas Lickona does we could make a positive difference in our children today.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By S. Lundstrom on July 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book comes at a critical time in our society- it has wonderful ideas and strategies that can be readily applied to school settings- forming partnerships with parents and teachers is especially helpful!
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By Dianne on June 12, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a new substitute teacher when I read this book from the library I just knew I had to have it in my library and I knew right where to get it, Amazon.com. I bought it for 1 cent and it was in good shape, was not written in at all, only on the side pages but that was blacked out, that's fine with me. Thank you Amazon.com.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Plenty of very useful tools to promote character and virtues in your school and or community. Luckona bring back common sense morals and behaviors I was brought up on. Re-reading these skills are vital for a healthy child. Luckona drives the home in "Character Matters."
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a very thorough book about why character education matters. It is a very easy read and gives a lot of very applicable advice to parents, teachers, and others who are thinking of implementing character education with children and adolescents.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Sandra Swartz on November 1, 2006
Format: Paperback
Our school district began a Character Education initiative three years ago. I am the Coordinator of the project. We knew from the beginning that we wanted to include our entire community but were not sure where to begin. I was fortunate enough to learn about Dr. Tom Lickona's book, Character Matters. After reading the book, I was even more committed to our project. We purchased a book for every employee to read and have used Dr. Lickona's teachings through this book, as a step-by-step guide in implementing Character in Action in Wisconsin. After our first year, we made the decision to host a two-day Character Education Conference for all educators in the Midwest. Dr. Lickona was one of our keynote speakers AND every conference participant received Character Matters in their conference bag. It was the best gift we could give to other educators wanting to know more about character education. I highly recommend this book to anyone, educator, parent or community leader, who is striving to make a difference in our world and wishes to do so the right way!
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