Character Development Center Celebrates 20th Anniversary

After 20 years working in character development, there are still four questions that the Character Development Center is asked the most frequently:
What is character? What is character education? Why do we need it? What does the Center do?

What is character?

I need you to think of your past and future life as a journey along the character-moral highway. The character traits in your bag include: Respect— Responsibility, Compassion, Citizenship, Trust, Perseverance, Honesty, Gratitude, Self-Discipline and Courage.
The moral compass is your conscience; a compass that will help you along the route to a happy, positive, productive, and ethically-based life.
-paraphrase from DeRoche & Williams, Educating Hearts & Minds, Corwin Press, p.25)

Character is who you are when no one is looking—now—however, it is who you are when everyone is looking.

The best index to a person’s character is how he/she treats people who can’t do him/her any good, and how he/she treats people who can’t fight back.

What is character education?
In short, character education is the process of teaching the young how to navigate the moral highway. The word “character” has two Cs in it; one stands for choice and the other for consequences. Living a life of good character doesn’t happen by chance, nor does it happen by circumstance. For the most part, it happens by choice. Character education, hopefully, helps kids make good choices and learn the lessons from making poor ones.

Why do we need character education?
There are no character genes; character is a learned behavior. We’re neither born with it, predisposed to it or incapable of it. Thus, “character education” or “moral education” as it was labeled in the ‘old days.’

What does the Character Education Center do?
We are a character education resource center for educators, parents, students and the public. Our motto: If we don’t have it, we can get it, or create it.
Our vision, mission and a range of activities can be found on our website.
We engage in partnerships with schools and community agencies.
We offer USD students’ courses in character education.
We offer online courses for educators around the world.
We provide educators the opportunity to earn a Specialist Certificate in Character Education.

Written by Ed DeRoche, Director, Character Development Center



Devon Foster
(619) 260-4283


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San Diego, CA 92110