Manners of the Heart® (MOH), a community-based organization headquartered in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is dedicated to transforming homes, schools and communities through instructional programs designed to build character, strengthen morals, and increase respectfulness among children and adults. This character education program, referred to as “Heart Education,” offers resources for children, parents, teachers and business professionals. MOH provides classroom application-level learning through our own evidence-based curriculum for students and professional instruction through seminars, workshops and conferences for adults.
As a child, I was scared of the dark, scared of water and scared of heights. To calm my fears, Mother checked my closet and under the bed for the boogie man before she turned off the light at night. She forced me to take swimming lessons to overcome my trouble with water. I finally beat my fear of heights on a high ropes course as an adult.
Today’s children have much more to fear than I did. The evening news incites absolute terror in their hearts; stories of Ebola, ISSIS and violence on the streets. It takes more than checking for the boogie man to give our children a sense of security when threats like these fill their minds with fear. We need to replace the stories that create fear with stories that inspire courage. We need to share stories of those who used fear to energize them rather than paralyze them.
Children need to hear stories of those in our country’s history who overcame terrible situations that should have defeated them but instead made them stronger.
Stories of those who protect America day in and day out from the terrors they hear about. They need to know that heroes are born in the face of danger. The story of Todd Beamer who gave us the battle cry, “Let’s Roll,” when he and other passengers overcame terrorists on United Airlines Flight 93 on 9/11.
I highly recommend William Bennett’s classic, The Children’s Book of Heroes, as a great place to start.