Subject Character Virtue Development

New Study Suggests Religion Makes Children Less Altruistic

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Parents who raise their children to be religious may hope that their offspring will grow up to be more empathic and concerned with moral issues. But does religion actually facilitate sensitivity to others and prosocial behavior? A new study led by Jean Decety of the University of Chicago, based on research supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation, has put this assumption to the test.

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(Dis)Honesty – The Truth About Lies

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Imagine you’re asked to solve some simple math problems and are offered payment for each correct answer. Then you are allowed to mark your own test, report your own score, and receive the cash without anything being checked. Would you be honest? Would you mark, score, and report correctly? Or would you be tempted to say that you did just a little bit better than you actually did?

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The Worst Job You’ll Ever Love

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“I was once reasonably dignified,” writes Jonathan V. Last, senior writer at The Weekly Standard, explaining his formerly well-dressed, organized, clutter-free life. “Then I became a father.” The Dadly Virtues: Adventures from the Worst Job You’ll Ever Love, published by Templeton Press and edited by Last, offers an amusing array of insight from fathers in all walks and stages of life. The book is a tongue-in-cheek celebration of the trials and triumphs of fatherhood.

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Lessons in Resilience, from a Navy SEAL

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Eric Greitens begins his new book, Resilience: Hard-Won Wisdom for Living a Better Life, with a powerful story. Greitens, a Navy SEAL, was contacted by a fellow combat veteran who was facing a personal crisis and reached out to Greitens, seeking some kind of help. In a series of letters, twenty-three of which make up the book, Greitens drew on his research, supported by the John Templeton Foundation, which centers on the development of resilient moral character.

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Texting to Promote Empathy

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Can texting build a sense of empathy with others? It’s an important question, argues Sara Konrath, principal investigator for the Interdisciplinary Program on Empathy and Altruism Research (iPEAR) and John Templeton Foundation grantee. Every second, thousands of tweets are posted and hundreds of thousands of text messages are sent. But what is the emotional and personal impact of this virtual communication and, if negative, can it be changed?

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Young People Discover the Laws of Life

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What are the rules, ideals, and principles that can guide us through a full and joyous life? Over 25 years ago, Sir John Templeton launched the Laws of Life essay contest to encourage young people to reflect on their purpose. Writing from the Heart, published in 2001, captures many of these extraordinary essays in an inspiring compilation that details what young people have learned about life. Today, the competition continues to spark thousands of students to put pen to paper and describe their experiences, their hopes, and their insights.

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Finding Great Ideas for Teaching Character

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Much of the best wisdom about teaching is known by teachers themselves. They are the individuals on the front line of nurturing character strengths and skills in the classroom. It’s a kind of implicit knowledge that is invaluable when shared. To that end, Character Lab, is awarding $10,000 to teachers from all school types with the most innovative ideas for inspiring virtues among 5th-12th grade students.

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Knightly Tales Teach Timeless Virtues

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Courtesy of the Knightly Virtues program
Courtesy of the Knightly Virtues program

Classic stories often contain rich explorations of character and virtues. These resources, loved by children and adults alike, have been developed into the Knightly Virtues educational program at the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues. The program offers materials to help nine- to eleven-year-olds enjoy tales such as those of King Arthur and Don Quixote while learning about virtues, including gratitude, honesty, and humility, as well as to think about their own virtues of character.

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New Grants for Character Research

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Having good character is essential for social, personal, and vocational success. Young people need to be nurtured to develop an open mindset and virtues that will enable them to respond well to what life brings. Character Lab aims to discover ideas and strategies that build character, translate those ideas to good use, and ensure that people who work with students implement results into schools and homes.

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