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The online and print forum promoting the development of children, families and the parents who care for them.

Character Development in Children: Cultivating Moral Character Identifying with a Moral Code How to Foster Character Development in Children Virtues for Self-Cultivation Community Calendar Coming in March:

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Family & Friends


by Suzanne Provencher, Publisher

I’d like to tell you a little something about my Aunt Jean. Aunt Jean – AJ – was my mother’s oldest sister and my favorite aunt. In many ways, she was more like a mother and friend to me throughout my life. We shared a love of travel, New York, Broadway shows and live theatre – and we had so many wonderful moments together. She went in for some physical therapy rehab in November. But she did not get well. She was getting worse. On Christmas Eve – we learned the cancer had returned. She had a grace and calmness about her. She was smiling as she shrugged her little shoulders. She finally had a reason for her recent problems. She was tired of the treatments for the ailments that were piled upon her in her golden years. It was her time to let nature take its course. I nodded in understanding, through tears and a breaking heart that did not want to understand. But I did. I did for her. I had to inform my mother, her sister…on Christmas Eve… But before I left Abbott House – I offered to come back early on Christmas morning to do her hair and make-up, to get her all dolled up before her visitors came – and she accepted. I wanted to do something…I would have done anything to make her feel better. This was the last time I saw her dressed and sitting up. This was the beginning of the end… I packed up my bag of beauty supplies, dressed my dog as Santa and headed to Abbott House on Christmas morning with my sister, Sharon, who was very close to AJ, too. In fact, Sharon the OT helped to take care of AJ at Abbott House, where she works. One day…just one day later…AJ did not look the same. She was not dressed and sitting up. They told us it would take 3 weeks…but I knew it would be mere days.


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We watched her fail. We held vigil over her. She was never alone. We held her hands. We wiped her brow. We kept her dry mouth moist. We prayed with her. I sang to her. She would not eat. She was ready for her final curtain call. She was such a brave little soul. The holidays went by in a blur and we didn’t really feel like celebrating. I called Abbott House at 8am on New Year’s Eve. We had spent many hours with her the day before and we knew the end was getting closer. But AJ was still with us. A half hour later, as I was attempting to write her eulogy and, in my way, trying to help her over to the other side – as I typed her granddaughter’s name: Grace - the phone rang. It was AJ’s Grace, her only grandchild. She didn’t have to say a word. “Is she gone?” I asked. “Yup.” “Are you alone?” “Yup.” “Want me to come over?” “Yup.” So Grace, Sharon and I – three of AJ’s girls – gathered together on New Year’s Eve morning, while AJ’s only son and daughter-in-law were busy with the final duties and plans. We shared hugs, tears, stories and laughs – but mostly we tried to help each other embrace what had happened over the past month or so. How we went from physical rehab and hope – to the most dire diagnosis and rapid decline. We were not ready to let her go. But she was so ready to go. It happened so fast. I will try to remember that she wanted it this way. I will always remember her sweet smile, her gentle kindness, her thoughtful generosity – and her adorable giggle, which always made me grin. She taught me to always see the good things in life and to not focus on the bad. In her high school yearbook, there is a quote next to her photo that reads: “Though in size she is quite small – her heart is big enough for all.” And it always was. Our world is a brighter place because she was in it. I will try to always be grateful and thankful for so many AJ memories to keep me warm when I think of her…and her beautiful smile. With Love & Gratitude, Suzanne xo

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The largest camp showcases in print on the North Shore! ring DEADLINE FOR MARCH SHOWCASE ADS: Secure your ad space by noon, Wed., Feb. 12. If you Appea ur in o ril, require ad production assistance, your ad materials are also due by this deadline. All showcase ads , Ap MarchSummer are due or must be done by noon, Fri., Feb. 14. May & sues! s i Special Showcase ad sizes and pricing are offered for this series. To learn more or to secure your space, please contact Suzanne: or 781.584.4569.

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Letter from the Editor

Cultivating Moral Character in Our Children by Michael F. Mascolo, Ph.D.

In the movie, Murphy’s Romance, Murphy Jones (James Garner), becomes romantically interested in Emma Moriarty (Sally Field), a divorced mother with a 12 year-old son named Jake. Bobby Jack, Emma’s ne’er-do-well ex-husband, arrives on the scene, trying to woo Emma back. At one point in the movie, Emma, Murphy, Bobby and Jake are enjoying a game of cards at Emma’s ranch house. Bobby Jack begins to cheat. Murphy notices, and, calling Bobby Jack outside for a private chat, calls him on his cheating. Later on, there is a scene in which Murphy and Jake (Emma’s son) share a moment on a bench in the middle of town. The following dialogue occurs: Jake (earnestly): “I saw what my dad did when we were playing cards.” Murphy (after a pause): “Maybe it’s a good thing you did.” Jake: “He did it twice.” Murphy: “Take after him or not, it’s up to you.” Murphy communicates a great deal of meaning in this simple statement: “Take after him or not, it’s up to you.” This phrase communicates two basic points. First, Murphy seems to be saying, “Your future is up to you. I can’t choose for you – you’ve got to choose for yourself.”

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The second and more important meaning is communicated by the phrase, “take after him or not”. With these few words, Murphy is holding up a set of images for the boy. He holds up two pictures of the kind of person Jake can become. In this case, Murphy is saying, you can be dishonest or honest. You can be a cheat, or you can be a good sport. Murphy is concerned about Jake’s character – the type of person that Jake can become. What is character? A person’s character is not the same as an individual’s personality. By personality, we usually mean an individual’s general pattern of thinking, feeling and action – whether the person is generally outgoing or inhibited, calm or excitable, open or closed to new experiences, etc. Character, however, has a moral component. It refers to a person’s moral orientation. To speak of a person’s character is to speak of his or her capacity to bring his or her behavior in line with moral ideals. It refers to the goodness of a person – an individual’s capacity to act as a moral or virtuous person. What would it be like if our children started each day asking, “What can I do today to become a better person?” rather than “What can I do today that would bring me pleasure?” That is the topic of this month’s special issue.

2nd Annual Merrimack Valley Special Needs Resource Fair

P.O. Box 150 Nahant, MA 01908-0150 781.584.4569

A publication of North Shore Ink, LLC © 2014. All rights reserved. Reproduction in full or in part without written permission of the publisher is prohibited.

Suzanne M. Provencher Publisher/Co-Founder/Managing Partner Michael F. Mascolo, PhD Editor/Co-Founder/Partner Designed by Group One Graphics Printed by Seacoast Media Group Please see our Calendar in this issue for our upcoming deadlines. Published and distributed monthly throughout the North Shore, 10x per year, and always online. All articles are written by Michael F. Mascolo, PhD unless otherwise credited. Information contained in NSC&F is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. Individual readers are responsible for their use of any information provided. NSC&F is not liable or responsible for the effects of use of information contained in NSC&F. Established 2007.

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Sunday, March 30, 2014 • 10am-2pm at Merrimack College Sakowich Center, 315 Turnpike Street, No. Andover, MA (Enter on Route 114 W)

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Cultivating Character

What it Means to Cultivate Moral Character Moral character refers to the more-or-less consistent disposition to act in accordance with a system of moral values. The concept of moral character is an old one. In Western culture, we can trace it at least as far back as Aristotle. For Aristotle, to have moral character is to achieve moral goodness. We develop moral character by cultivating virtue. Virtues are moral qualities (e.g., courage, compassion, gratitude, trustworthiness, effort, etc.). We are not born with moral character; it is something that must be cultivated slowly over time. For Aristotle, the path to moral character is a clear and direct one: To cultivate virtue, we must act in virtuous ways. Over time, the more we practice virtue, the more it becomes part of who we are. Kind habits develop by repeating kind actions; we cultivate a compassionate disposition by repeatedly performing compassionate acts. Moral character is not easy to cultivate. It is not something that a child can acquire simply by himself. In child development, the acquisition of complex skills tends to move from other-regulation to self-regulation. Children first develop a new skill in interactions with other people (e.g., parents, teachers, other children) and only later gain some degree of independent mastery. For example, children do not learn to tell time spontaneously on their own. They develop the skill first under tutelage of adults, and only later come to be able to tell the time by themselves. This is true for the development of virtue as well. A parent might say, “It is important to be helpful when we are clearing the table. Here – take this dish into the kitchen.” This is not to say, of course, that young children are not already disposed to respond in helpful, caring and morally sensitive ways. They are. It is only to say that such dispositions develop under the sensitive guidance and support of other people. To cultivate moral character is to attempt to act in accordance with a particular image of oneself. It requires the active attempt to become a certain type of person – a person who displays qualities of moral goodness (virtue). It is a form of self-cultivation. There are two senses in which this is the case. First, cultivating moral character involves cultivating the self – cultivating one’s sense of what it means to be a good person, and then acting in accordance with that image. Second, the task of self-cultivation is something that is ultimately accomplished by the self, although with the guidance and support of a sensitive and responsible adult. As a result, to foster the development of moral character, the job of the parent becomes one of helping the child construct, appreciate and identify a sense of what it means to be a good person, showing children how to act in accordance with that image and making children accountable for doing so. Some people might think of the process of self-cultivation as an arduous one – one that requires constant self-sacrifice or the need to control one’s desires. However, the process of self-cultivation is actually quite commonplace. Older children’s participation in sports and other physical activities provides a particularly good example of the process of self-cultivation. Teens who are involved in sports tend to become highly invested in developing a certain type of valued identity. They want to both see themselves and be seen as good football players, dancers or gymnasts. Such children are willing to endure considerable discomfort in order to build the skills (and shape their bodies) so that they achieve such valued identities.

Self-cultivation in the moral arena is similar to the process of self-cultivation in sports. Both involve movement toward a valued goal or end (e.g., becoming a good football player; becoming a good person); receiving instruction how to reach that goal; and engaging in effortful action intended to move toward the goal. The two processes differ, however, in the extent to which they are generally valued in our culture. At this moment in the history of our culture, there is arguably more consensus about the meaning and value of being a good athlete than there is about being a good person. This is not a ubiquitous condition across the world’s cultures. Sports are not a popular cultural institution, for example, in China.

To foster the development of moral character, the parent’s job becomes one of helping the child identify with and act upon a system of moral values. In a pluralistic culture such as our own, this is not always an easy thing to do; children socialized into one set of values may find that others do not share those values. This, however, is no reason to abandon the goal of character development. It simply means that there is a need to teach children to engage constructively with those who hold different value systems. Engaging diverse others constructively does not mean simply accommodating to values of the other. It simply means genuinely engaging with the other in an exploration of the meaning of difference. On some occasions, our interactions may motivate us to modify our selves in the direction of the other; on other occasions, the opposite may occur. In still other circumstances, partners may accommodate to each other, or remain unchanged. Regardless of the outcome, we cultivate our selves through our relationships with others. Thus, engaging diverse value systems is not the enemy of self-cultivation; on the contrary, it is part of its very process. Thus, the process of moral self-cultivation is both an open-ended and constrained one. It is constrained by the virtues and values that a parent seeks to cultivate in his or her child. It is open-ended in the sense that, as he develops the capacity for self-reflection in social interactions, the child himself will assume the primary role of identifying the values that will define his moral identity. As this occurs slowly over time, the child’s motives and way of being in the world become transformed. Having developed an inner compass, the child will be increasingly able to direct his own actions in term of his values and personal goals. Let’s explore how this happens.

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Cultivating Character

What Really Motivates Behavior? Identifying with a Moral Code When we think about how to motivate children, we often find ourselves in a bind. There are two basic theories of motivation. The first says that motivation is something that comes from the inside. This is the theory of “intrinsic motivation”. This theory says that being motivated is intrinsic or inherent in who we are. We do not have to push and pull a child to be motivated; instead, we simply have to tap into how children are naturally motivated to seek out, explore and make sense out of their worlds. To see the intrinsic motivation in action, look no further than the infant. Infants come into the world with an already established sense of curiosity. They seem to direct their actions without the need for external incentives. This theory works for understanding why people are motivated to do what they are already motivated to do. It doesn’t help us very much when it comes to motivating children to do what they do not want to do! What motivates Molly to do her homework? Her inherent love of mathematics? Probably not. In general, we don’t first love mathematics and then do mathematics. It’s usually just the opposite: We come to love mathematics after a good deal of doing mathematics. We tend to develop a love of mathematics only as we get good at it. When internal motivation fails, parents and educators tend to resort to external motivation. They use external incentives such as rewards, praise, prizes and stickers to motivate their children. This logic, of course, is built into the structure of our society. If we want students to learn, we set up an

incentive program: people work for a paycheck; students work to get grades. So, are external incentives the answer? Will Molly do her homework if her mother promises to give her prizes? Perhaps. But only in the short term. That is, Molly will remain motivated only as long as the prizes keep coming, and only as long as Molly remains interested in the prizes. But even then, she will not be motivated to do her homework. She will only be motivated to get the prize. The problem here is that our most important motives come neither from the inside nor from the outside. Instead, they come from our personal identification with some social system of values. Our most powerful motives are those that flow from our identification with higher-order values – our sense of what is good or bad; worthy or unworthy; right or wrong; and so forth. They reflect our attempts to live up to images of success — valued images of who we are and who we feel we should be. They develop slowly over time through the thousands of

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interactions we have with the important people in our lives. Our identities – our value-laden theories of ourselves – are powerful motivators. When we identify ourselves with a set of values, images and ideals, we become motivated to uphold those values, images and ideals. People will go through extraordinary pains in order to advance a cause that they feel is good, right or justified. Our values and ideals make us who we are and direct who we try to become; they come to define our selves.

1. Society communicates a series of norms and values that identify what boys and girls are expected to do and look like. Boys have short hair; girls have long hair. Boy babies are dressed in blue, girls in pink; boys play rough and tumble games, girls like dolls; and so forth1. 2. As children interact with adults and other children, they come to identify themselves using words like boy and girl. Part of doing so is learning the socially valued meanings of these words, and the expectations that come with them.

We Act on the Basis of Our Images of Who We Wish to Be We are, in part, who we think we are. Who we think we are – our identities – are a kind of “theory”. To have an identity is to have a kind of “theory of myself”. When we act, we act in order to conform to a valued image of ourselves; we act to uphold our sense of who we are and who we feel we should become. This is true of adults and children alike. A good example involves the process by which children acquire gender roles. How do children come to adopt behaviors that reflect social norms for “boys” or “girls”? Why, for example, does a six-year-old boy refuse to put on a dress? Why would a school-aged girl resist wearing a “regular” boy’s haircut? Children care a great deal about how other people perceive them; they don’t want to look foolish. They have already created an image of who they feel that they should be in the eyes of others. Here’s how the developmental process works:


3. Having identified oneself as a boy or a girl, children actively attempt to conform to the socially valued meanings of these words. A boy will think, “I am a boy; to be valued as a boy, I will do boy things”; a girl will think, “I am a girl; to be valued as a girl; I will do girl things”. Once children identify themselves as boys or girls, they quickly become aware of the social value placed upon conforming to those identities. Thus, a typical boy refuses to wear a dress because it violates his internalized image of who he should be as a boy (e.g., “only girls wear dresses”). A little girl may resist wearing her hair like a boy because “I wouldn’t look pretty”. This is because wearing a boy’s haircut violates the girl’s already valued image of who she should be as a girl2. The development of moral character is much like the development of a gender identity or an athletic identity. Each involves (a) identification of the self with some valued way of being in the world; (b) instruction on how to perfect the skills involved in attaining that identity; and (c) slow, sustained activity over time in an attempt to cultivate that identity. 1

For small children, gender distinctions are rarely made on the basis of genitalia. Distinctions between boys and girls are made on the basis of clothing, hair style, names, etc. 2 In the US, it is currently more acceptable for girls to wear boys clothing than it is for boys to wear girls clothing.

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Cultivating Character

How to Foster Character Development in Children All parents have some sense of the types of moral qualities that they would like to see in their children. This is not only their right as parents; it is also their responsibility. Modern parents, however, are also aware that moral character is not something that can or should be simply forced upon children. Children are and should be active participants in the process of shaping their own development. The key to fostering character development is to direct children through the noble craft of moral selfcultivation. Self-cultivation is simply the active attempt to improve oneself gradually over time. It is the longterm commitment to becoming a certain type of person over time. It reflects the life-long endeavor to fashion oneself according to one’s (constantly evolving) image of who one should be as a person. From this view, it is the job of parents to actively direct, guide or otherwise assist children to identify with and act upon some system of moral values. How can this be done? The key here is to draw upon a child’s already existing desire to be seen as good by both himself and by others. Drawing on this desire, it is the job of parents to show children how to behave so that they can be seen by themselves and by others as good persons. It is as if the parent says, “A good person is someone who is responsible, caring, honest, etc. These qualities are important because of A, B and C. It’s your job to try to become a responsible, caring, honest person; it’s my job to help you get there.” This is old school parenting – and it may rub against the grain of some modern sensibilities – particularly the tendency of child-centered parents to yield authority to children in the name of granting children autonomy. It is not possible to cultivate character in

children without taking a stand on the types of moral qualities one wishes to promote in children. Children are incomplete beings; they require at least two decades of parenting in order to develop into competent and responsible adults. As they grow older, they will have more of a say in determining the types of people that they wish to become. Until that time arrives, they need moral guidance from trusted people who know better than they do. Those people are the child’s parents. The task of fostering long-term selfcultivation in children requires a significant shift away from childcentered thinking. It requires that we, as parents, direct our children’s attention not simply to who they are right now, but also to the type of person that we want our children to become in the future. However, many contemporary parents have been led to believe that drawing a child’s attention to the type of person that a parent wants them to become is damaging to a child. Parents have been led to believe that drawing attention to the type of person a parent expects a child to become in the future will prompt a child to experience him or herself as somehow flawed, deficient or lacking in the present. Parents have been led to believe that comparing the child’s current behavior to a valued future state will damage a child’s self-esteem, create feelings of shame and inadequacy or otherwise stifle a child’s sense of self. Nothing can be further from the truth. Child-centered parents fear that holding out an image of the type of person a parent expects a child to become can damage a child’s current sense of self. In fact, it is this very fear of damaging a child’s self-esteem that is most damaging to a child’s sense of self.

The fear of damaging a child’s selfesteem is destructive when it leads parents to protect children from the types of hardships that are inevitable in life, and that are necessary if children are to develop into competent, responsible and caring adults. Instead of protecting children from possible feelings of inadequacy that a parent fears could arise from seeing the self as less than perfect, it is

the parent’s job to arm children with the tools to cope with the hardships that necessarily occur in life while simultaneously appreciating who one is at the present. This is part of what it means to cultivate character. How can parents foster the process of self-cultivation in children without fear of infringing upon children’s autonomy or damaging their self-

North Shore Children & Families esteem? The fact of the matter is that promoting self-cultivation in children actually enhances rather than diminishes autonomy and self-esteem. This is because the process of selfcultivation fosters what psychologist Carol Dweck has called the growth rather than fixed mindset toward learning. As shown in the table at left, the fixed mindset consists of the belief that one’s intelligence or ability is fixed and unchangeable; the growth mindset is the belief that one’s intelligence and ability are changeable and develop through effort and perseverance. Children who hold a fixed mindset identify themselves with their presumed fixed abilities. Their self-esteem depends upon the extent to which they can be seen as possessing valued talents and abilities. For children who think this way – and it is likely that most American children do – failure is a threat to self-esteem. If I strike out at baseball, I must be bad at baseball; if I get a poor grade in math, I must have low math ability. Because I believe there is nothing I can do to change my abilities, I adopt


the strategy of avoiding tasks at which I think I might fail. To protect my selfesteem, I pursue easy tasks at which I know that I can excel. Parents who consistently praise their children’s abilities, protect children from hardship and withhold corrective feedback out of a fear of hurting a child’s self-esteem communicate a clear message to their children. Your success comes from your inherent ability. If you do well at something, you should be proud of your ability. If you do poorly, the task is probably too difficult and extends beyond your ability. To press you further would run the risk of producing failure and feelings of shame. This message produces a suite of negative consequences: It fosters a preoccupation with protecting one’s self-esteem rather than cultivating new abilities; it fails to arm children with the capacity to persevere through hardship; it fosters an attitude of praise-seeking upon success and excuse-making in the context of Continued on page 10

10 North Shore Children & Families How to Foster Character Development Continued from page 9

failure; it fails to promote skills for managing negative emotion and disappointment. The child with a growth mindset does not believe her abilities are fixed; instead, she acts according to the belief that her abilities are cultivated over time through effort, hard work and perseverance. The goal of a child with a fixed mindset is to present himself as capable by succeeding and to avoid looking foolish by failing. In contrast, the goal of the child with a growth mindset is to cultivate her abilities. Whereas the child with a fixed mindset is motivated to do well in this particular task, the child with a growth mindset sees her success on any particular task as but one step in a longer process of mastering a new skill. More important, the child with a growth mindset experiences failure

not as an indictment of her ability, but instead as indicating the need that more effort is needed to master the task. If the child believes that drawing ability develops over time through action and effort, then producing a poor drawing is merely an indication that the child has not yet learned to draw well. As a result, failure is not an inherent threat to a child’s selfesteem. Children who hold a fixed mindset identify themselves with their fixed abilities. Children who hold a growth mindset identify themselves with the process of cultivating new skills, abilities and qualities. Thus, the child with the growth mindset is interested in learning to draw beautiful pictures; acquiring the ability to add; getting feedback on whether she is learning well or poorly. In contrast, the child with the fixed mindset is interested in gaining praise for this particular drawing; being praised for his ability to add; and getting an A on the test.

Cultivating Character

Virtues for Self-Cultivation Parenting is not a morally neutral endeavor. If we want to foster the development of character in our children, we have to be willing to take a stand on the types of moral qualities that we want our children to acquire. Traditionally, the qualities that define moral goodness are called virtues. Fostering character development in children thus involves identifying the virtues and values we want our children to cultivate, and then helping children identify with and act upon their understanding of these virtues as part of what it means to be a good person. Thus, the first step towards fostering children’s character development is for parents to identify the virtues that they wish to promote in their children. Having done so, the virtues that parents identify as most important for our children become their primary parenting goals. For example, if we want our children to become caring, responsible and confident adults, then the job of the parent becomes one of helping the child to understand and identify him or herself with these virtues. The parent essentially says: “Here are the qualities of a good person; this is how you cultivate these qualities; now, I’ll help you through this; let’s get to work.” Identifying Your Values and Virtues Cultivating character involves identifying what virtues are important in life and making them part of one’s central identity. Thus, the first step in the task of fostering character development is to articulate your values and to identify the

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One way to help clarify your system of values is to use a chart like the completed sample on the following page. This chart contains three concentric circles that you can use to identify virtues you feel are most important (center circle), moderately important (next circle) and less important (periphery) to foster in your child. This is how to use it: 1. Write down names of the three most important virtues in the center circle; three moderately important virtues in the next outer rung; and three less important virtues in the periphery. 2. Write them down on the circle according to how you think they go together. Place virtues that you think are similar in some way next to each other. Place those that are dissimilar farther apart. 3. Circle groups of virtues that you think go together or that are related in some important way. 4. Label each group of virtues. Briefly explain how you think the virtues go together.

virtues that you wish to promote in your child. Even though we may think that we know what type of individuals we want our children to become, the answers are not always clear. How do we choose which moral qualities we want to promote in our children? The Circle of Virtues shows a partial list of virtues. Which of these virtues do you find to be important? Why?

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The sample chart on the next page was completed by Mary, a parent of three children. Mary identified love, care/compassion and hard work as the virtues that she felt were most important; persistence, forgiveness and gratitude as moderately important virtues; and self-protectiveness, loyalty and citizenship as less important virtues. She grouped these virtues into three positive categories (Care, Gratitude and Hard Work) and two negative ones (Blind Conformity and Being Closed Off). In describing each group of virtues, Mary was able to clarify some of the reasons why she valued some virtues over others. Parents who engage in this activity are often surprised at the insights that they Continued on page 12

12 North Shore Children & Families Virtues for Self-Cultivation Continued from page 11

gain into their own value systems. This shows that identifying the values that guide our parenting is not a simple process. Parents often find their values changing during the very process of reflecting upon them. This shows that our values are not fixed things – they can and do change over time as we encounter new parenting experiences and reflect on the significance of those experiences. In addition to whatever virtues and values individual parents might hold, there are two additional virtues that are especially relevant to cultivating character. Perseverance Research shows that when it comes to accomplishment – hard work, effort and perseverance are key. They are more important for achievement than having a high IQ. For a long time, we have erroneously believed that individual differences in “cognitive ability” explain why some people are able to accomplish more in life than others. However, cognitive ability is simply inert without the motivational and emotional capacities to direct one’s abilities, sustain them over time and persevere en route to cultivating new skills and abilities over time. People who are able to sustain their effort over time are much more likely to succeed than those who do not. Cultivating Concern for Others All of us are motivated by at least two categories of motives: Self-interest and concern for others. People act out of self-interest when they pursue food out of hunger and thirst; pursue their own personal goals, seek fame and fortune, and

so on. We act out of concern for others when we offer help and assistance; share our food; visit the sick; or otherwise act for the benefit of other people. A concern for the other is the basis of all forms of moral conduct. If it were not for the presence of other people, moral concerns would not ordinarily arise.

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share your community for a few weeks this summer! Host an International Student (ages 14-17) and earn up to $1,500 this summer! Russian and Spanish students: 7/3 to 7/29. Chinese students: 7/23 to 8/11.

If you are able to provide a room, meals, transportation to a local point, and a caring environment, you have what it takes to host friendly students from abroad! Contact us today – Kelly Scimone (617) 974-6163 •

When we think of human nature, we often tend to think that (a) one class of motives – self-interest – is more natural than the other (concern for the other); and (b) they are antagonistic to each other – that is, self-interest necessarily conflicts with concern for the other. Neither of these two everyday beliefs is true. Humans are both self-interested and concerned about others. Infants as young as 8-months of age and even younger show empathic concern for others in pain, begin to help other people when needed and show related behaviors. It is true that self-interest often conflicts with concern for others. However, this is not necessarily the case. In fact, helping children reconcile their natural self-interest with their developing sense of concern for others is key to fostering the development of moral character. Teens and adults who are morally exemplary (who act in the service of others) are those for whom morality is a central part of their identity. In other words, they identify themselves – that is, they identify their self-interest — with moral goals and the interests of others. Concern for Others How do we develop as moral persons? We often think that being moral involves denying self-interest. We think that the natural condition of children (or humans in general) is to be self-interested. If this were true, then to be moral – to act out of care for others — we must suppress or repress what we want for ourselves. But again, this is not necessarily so. When children are very young, self-interest and concern for others tend to be separate. In some situations, children act out of self-interest. For example, if Todd wants a toy, he may simply grab it from Lexi. If, on another occasion, Todd sees Lexi cry when her toy breaks, Todd might attempt to comfort Lexi, fix her toy for her or give her another toy. Children tend to switch from selfinterest to concern for others from moment to moment. Over time, a child’s self-interest will naturally come into conflict with his or her concern for others. When this happens, authoritative parents will point this out. They might say, “I see that you want to play with Lexi’s doll. But look what happened when you grabbed it from her! Is that how you want to make her feel?” When a child becomes aware of the conflict between self-interest and concern for others, he will have an important problem to solve. Todd can begin to ask, “If I take the doll, I’ll get what I want, but that will also make Lexi sad. What should I do?” Children confront problems like this repeatedly. Over time, children’s way of dealing with such conflicts can develop through at least three different pathways. In the first, children can adopt the general strategy of pursuing selfinterest while ignoring the needs of others. In the second, children can develop a tendency to inhibit their own interests in favor of attending to the needs of others. Of course, neither of these pathways are optimal ones. The first puts self-interest above concern for others. This is damaging for both the child (e.g., it spoils relationships with others) and for other people (i.e., their interests are not considered). The second strategy involves sacrificing what the self wants in order to advance the interests of others. This strategy ultimately breeds dissatisfaction and resentment. In a third pathway, children come to reconcile the conflict between self-interest and concern for others. Children are able to coordinate self-interest and care for others in a non-contradictory way. Morally exemplary children, for example, come to see the act of extending care to others as part of their selfinterest. In its most primitive and undeveloped form, this awareness takes the form of understanding that caring for others can bring benefits to the self. At

North Shore Children & Families


a deeper and more developed level, acting out of concern for others becomes part of the expression of a child’s own projects, plans and desires. Such children identify themselves with the goal of extending care to others. In other words, caring for the other becomes part of the projects, goals and desires that define the child’s self-interest. Children who are identified as morally exemplary individuals tend to be those who achieve a sense of satisfaction out of the act of extending care to others. Parents can promote such feelings by talking about them explicitly: “Todd, I know you want to play with the doll. Sometimes, it makes us feel good to go out of our way to do something nice for someone. How do you think Lexi would feel if you offered to wait for the doll so she could play with it? How do you think you would feel?” After hundreds of interactions like these, as children develop through their teen years, moral character develops as a result of identifying oneself with moral values – including the goal of caring for others. Instead of seeing concern for others as something that is at odds with self-interest, morally exemplary teens experience caring about others as an expression of who they are. They will have forged a moral identity and will become more likely to act out of a sense of purpose rather than simply out of a sense of self-interest.

Attention Moms, Dads, Students & Others!

WE NEED ONLINE TECHNICAL HELP! We are looking for an online professional who has experience in: • Website development & maintenance • Search engine optimization • Social media skills • Online ad production • Site metrics We have a unique, highly desired and informative print product with a loyal following of readers and advertisers for over 6 years. We would consider working with a college intern, an independent contractor or working on a trade partnership arrangement. This is a perfect opportunity to work from home if you have the online technical skill set we need - and the knowledge and can-do attitude to get the job done! Interested and qualified applicants, please email a letter of interest, along with your resume, to Suzanne Provencher, Publisher of North Shore Children & Families:

HELP WANTED Earn commissions by helping us sell ads! Many territories available. Work from home. Contact Suzanne Provencher, Publisher, at

14 North Shore Children & Families

Community Calendar To Submit to our Community Calendar: Please visit us at and submit your listings directly through our website. From our Home Page – click on Calendar – then click on Submit and our form will open for you to complete and submit your listings. ALL calendar listings must be submitted directly via our website. While we will make every attempt to post all appropriate listings in our online Community Calendar, space is limited in print – and priority will be given to those events that are free and family-friendly – and those submitted by our advertising partners & sponsors. Calendar listings received online by the 20th of each month will be considered to also appear in our upcoming print calendar. If you need to guarantee that your listing will be posted in print – please contact Suzanne to advertise. To advertise, please contact Suzanne at or 781.584.4569.

For complete listing accuracy, we recommend that you call ahead or check the websites listed. Featured listings do not constitute an endorsement from this Publisher and we encourage our readers to always do their own research.


HELP WANTED: Help us sell ads – earn commissions! Contact today! Seeking technical/website help – see ad on page 13!


Try a free trial class at SoccerTots (Danvers & Beverly)! For kids 18 mos. – 6 years old. See ad on page 12 & save $10!

Camps & Summer Programs: See page 2 and join us in our 7th Annual Summer Camps & Programs Showcase Series, which kicks off in our March

issue! Contact by Feb. 12 to advertise and boost your summer enrollments!

Open your home to an international student this summer! See Education First ad on page 12;

Parents: It’s never too early to start saving for college. Open a MEFA® U.Fund® College Investing Plan account – managed by Fidelity Investments; see ad on back cover.


Special Needs Vendors/Exhibitors Welcome! Sign up today for the 2nd Annual Merrimack Valley Special Needs Resource Fair, to be held on Sun., March 30, at Merrimack College, No. Andover. Exhibitors include medical & therapeutic services, specialized education, sports, activities & camps, assistive technologies, legal & financial services, social skills programs and more! See ad on page 3 to learn more. North Shore Community College’s programs for Kids and Teens; classes start Feb. 15.

North Shore Children & Families is available for free each month at over 450 familyfrequented locations throughout the North Shore!

… Annual advertising frequency programs Read us in print & online!

Target your message to North Shore parents.

“Like” Us on Facebook!

We’ve got the North Shore covered! NorthShoreFamilies


March April May

Ad Space Deadline*

Ad Space Deadline

(for ads that need production help)

(for completed ads**)

noon, 2/12 noon, 3/19 noon, 4/16

noon, 2/14 noon, 3/21 noon, 4/18

*Also the due date for ad materials/ad copy changes for ads that we produce or revise. ** Completed ads are due the Tuesday following the final, Friday, ad space deadline.

To explore your advertising options or to secure your space, please contact Suzanne at 781.584.4569 or To learn more, please visit

Open Classrooms, 9:30-11am, and Open House, 6:30-8pm, at Odyssey Day School, Wakefield. FEBRUARY 1: Free Camp Fair – SummerScape – at Glen Urquhart School, Beverly; 12-3pm (snow date 2/2). See over 50 camps & summer programs. Salem Salsa Night! Presented by Salem Education Foundation at House of the Seven Gables, Salem, MA; 610pm. Family-friendly event; $5 cover charge includes appetizers, a salsa dance lesson & an evening of dancing.

Groundhog Day; Super Bowl XLVIII Sunday

… The Annual Planner for Schools program … Annual Summer Camps & Programs Showcase series




Attention Advertisers: Ask us about our … … “Try Us!” program for new advertisers

Open School, Walk in Wednesdays – 9:30-10:30am – at Harborlight-Stoneridge Montessori School, Beverly; see ad on page 7.

We are the LARGEST distribution parenting & family publication on the North Shore! We’ve Got the North Shore Covered! Since 2007

FEBRUARY 6: School Meeting Open House, 8:30am, at Brookwood School, Manchester. See ad on page 9 to learn more. FEBRUARY 7: Opening Ceremony – Winter Olympics FEBRUARY 9: Religious Exploration Open House, 10:30am-noon (snow date is Feb. 16); free and open to all families and children of all ages. At Northshore Unitarian Universalist Church, Route 35, Danvers.

♥ ♥ ♥

FEBRUARY 12 (NOON): AD DEADLINE: If you need to advertise in our MARCH issue, and if you need our ad production assistance, please confirm your ad size and submit your ad materials by NOON TODAY! You can see our display ad rates, sizes, available discounts & more at or contact

If you need our ad production assistance, please confirm your ad size and submit your ad materials by noon, Wed., Feb. 12! You can see our regular display ad rates, sizes, available discounts & more at

North Shore Children & Families FEBRUARY 21:


Happy Birthday, Mom!

Open House, 6:30-8pm, at Odyssey Day School, Wakefield. See ad on page 11;

FEBRUARY 23: DEADLINE to Enter for a Chance to Win tickets to Boston Ballet’s Cinderella – see page 3!

FEBRUARY 14: Happy Valentine’s Day! National Organ Donor Day

Closing Ceremony – Winter Olympics

Camps & Summer Programs – contact by noon, today, for our 2014 camp showcase ad rates, to secure your camp showcase ad space and to get started on your ad if you need production assistance.


Presidents’ Day; Random Acts of Kindness Day

Next Generation Recital at Shalin Liu Performance Center, Rockport; 3pm. Free for all ages, no tickets required. Enjoy the music of New England Conservatory composition students.



MARCH 7-9:

AD DEADLINE: FINAL Advertising Space Reservation DEADLINE at NOON for ALL COMPLETED ADS (that do NOT require ad production assistance) in our MARCH issue! To advertise, contact!

Community Calendar listings’ DEADLINE at NOON for our MARCH issue print calendar! Please submit all listings for MARCH events directly through our website (see beg. of this Calendar for details).

AAA Travel Marketplace – Indoors at Putnam Club East, Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA. Get the best prices, values & vacations – save on cruises, tour packages & road trips! To learn more & to save $2/person off admission – see ad with coupon on page 5!

Happy Birthday, Buddy Boyd! FEBRUARY 17:


Ad Space Closes 2/12!


North Shore Ballet School – Open house, 3:30-6:30pm, at Manchester Community Center, 40 Beach St.; meet the Director and enjoy free sample classes for children. See ad on page 12; MARCH 30: 2nd Annual Merrimack Valley Special Needs Resource Fair, 10am-2pm, at Merrimack College, No. Andover. Exhibitors include medical & therapeutic services, specialized education, sports, activities & camps, assistive technologies, legal & financial services, social skills programs and more! See ad on page 3 to learn more.

♥ ♥ ♥

North Shore Children & Families presents the 7th Annual

Summer Camps & Programs Showcase Series – 2014! CALLING ALL CAMPS & SUMMER PROGRAMS!

Secure your summer! ✔ Boost your summer enrollments & reach parents throughout the North Shore! ✔ Over 50,000 local readers - moms & dads with children of all ages & interests! ✔ Showcases run on bannered pages! ✔ Appears in print & online!

The largest camp showcases in print on the North Shore! ring DEADLINE FOR MARCH SHOWCASE ADS: Secure your ad space by noon, Wed., Feb. 12. If you Appea ur in o ril, require ad production assistance, your ad materials are also due by this deadline. All showcase ads , Ap MarchSummer are due or must be done by noon, Fri., Feb. 14. May & sues! is Special Showcase ad sizes and pricing are offered for this series. To learn more or to secure your space, please contact Suzanne: or 781.584.4569.

North shore children & families february 2014  
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