What makes up character? A great NYTimes article follows two school directors – one from KIPP academy and the other from a private school – trying to define and teach it.
They begin, with the help of Seligman, the father of the positive psychology movement, by defining it.
Initially they define character as being made up of 24 traits, including: bravery, citizenship, fairness, wisdom, integrity, love, humor, zest, appreciation of beauty; social intelligence (the ability to recognize interpersonal dynamics and adapt quickly to different social situations), kindness, self-regulation, and gratitude.
They found the list too unwieldy and pared it down to: zest, grit, self-control, social intelligence, gratitude, optimism and curiosity. They also discovered that students that possessed these traits did well in life – as opposed to just well on tests.
Interestingly, the article hints at how to build character – teaching cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) concepts. Finally! It would be great if more people were exposed to CBT.