I also have a dream: of a world in which all children are judged by the content of their character, and not by the color of their skin, or their language, their religion, their family’s wealth or lack of it, or what city, country or continent they live in. Everyone has gifts to offer that the world truly needs. Let’s see these in each other and in our children. Let’s nurture and celebrate these qualities and use them to make a world that works for everybody. That’s the vision behind what I do and what I’ve taught hundreds of children, from one of South Africa’s poorest townships to elite private schools. Kids of all colors want to be seen for who they are, not what they look like. Here are some photos of kids I’ve worked with, and me, holding up the names of our highest character strengths. See how much we have in common once you look beneath the surface? It’s our character that counts, not our color.
If this resonates with you and you’d like to help teach children about their strengths, here are some ways you can join me:
- Download my free workbook, “24 Ways to See the Best in Every Child”
- Take the VIA Assessment of Character Strengths, my favorite strengths tool and the most-taken and most-validated survey of its kind in the world
- Express respect for your children’s strengths. It’s so empowering.
- Talk about other people’s strengths too — your own, people you know, public figures. Kids pick up this concept and vocabulary so quickly; ask for their opinion.
- It’s also helpful to talk about someone’s lack of strengths. For instance, you might comment that a bully shows a lack of empathy and kindness.
- Forward this to others who share our values.