30 YEARS of Character Education

November 29, 2022

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Choose the Unknown

Dear Educator,

The Unknown

Every day, and every moment, we all must decide “what comes next.” Sometimes those choices are small and mundane, as in our next meal. Sometimes those choices are grand and inspiring, as in our next career move. Many of those choices require us to show preference: do we prefer comfort, or do we prefer challenge?

There is no clear winner. We all need comfortable times, places, and experiences. These comforts help us rest and prepare for inevitable new beginnings. They also allow us to reflect on experience, so we can transform our experience into something useful. Sometimes, choosing comfort is the only sane choice.

Nevertheless, we should all – as often as possible – choose challenge. Challenge forces us to face the unknown, to adapt, and to grow. It pushes us into situations where we are not knowledgeable, not experienced, and not particularly effective.  It shows us the gulf between our finite experience, and the vast infinite universe of possible experience. Challenge instructs us on the limits of our knowledge.

“Maturity, one discovers, has everything to do with the acceptance of ‘not knowing.’”

Mark Z. Danielewski

If challenge makes us aware of our limits, then it also prepares us to accept them. And – despite what you may have been told – your limitations are weaknesses only if you refuse to accept them. By accepting your limitations, you gain the opportunity to intentionally push past them. In this way, your limitations become starting points for a new character-building journey.

Make it a great day, dear educator, and choose the unknown.  

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