Mary ann springs 13 virtues


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Mary ann springs 13 virtues

  1. 1. The Lamar University Electronic Journal of Student Research Spring 2008 Surpassing Yourself: A Practical Approach to Self-Improvement through Benjamin Franklin's 13 Virtues for Successful Living Mary Ann Springs PhD Student in Educational Leadership The Whitlowe R. Green College of Education Prairie View A&M University Prairie View, Texas ESL Instructor Hempstead Independent School District Hempstead, Texas William Allan Kritsonis, PhD Professor and Faculty Mentor PhD Program in Educational Leadership The Whitlowe R. Green College of Education Prairie View A&M University System Prairie View, Texas Visiting Lecturer (2005) Oxford Round Table University of Oxford, Oxford England Distinguished Alumnus (2004) Central Washington University College of Educational and Professional Studies ___________________________________________________________ ABSTRACT Research in the United States implies that there has been a significant decline of integrity throughout the nation. From the “school” house to the “White” House, society is suffering mal-nutrition linked to a deficiency in moral character. Benjamin Franklin, one of the nations most admirable Founding Fathers, dedicated his life to the practice of moral perfection. Franklin's objective was to improve and surpass himself by implementing 13 virtues he believed, if practiced on a regular basis, would lead an individual to a more productive and abundant life. ___________________________________________________________
  2. 2. Introduction Never among our Founding Fathers was there such an eloquent example of the saga and capture of the “American” Dream. Franklin was a true from “rags to riches” story. Evidently, he enjoyed life for he refused to waste a moment of it, as articulated in his virtue on time management. After pulling some serious pranks during his teens, Benjamin Franklin finally began to walk the road toward self-enhancement by the age of 20. He started with four resolutions. He resolved to become more frugal so he could pay-off any debt he incurred. He made the commitment to be honest and sincere in his every word and action. He promised himself that he would be industrious to whatever task he undertook, and finally, Franklin vowed to speak ill of no man. To modern society, the notion of character development and virtuous living may seem antiquated and irrelevant. Consequently, even in the midst of an evolving world, virtues such as integrity, temperance, sincerity, and industry hold enduring value now and for ages to come. Virtues, or character traits, are vital to a school's existence. Daniel Goldman, author of Working with Emotional Intelligence, believes that if your organizational climate nourishes these competencies (initiative, empathy, and persuasiveness); your organization will be more effective and productive (Goldman, 2000). The implementation of Benjamin Franklin's 13 virtues, as a staff development, would improve teacher efficacy, administrative productivity, and foster a more positive school climate. Purpose of the Article The purpose of this article is to offer suggestions for a Staff Development on the implementation of Benjamin Franklin's 13 virtues for living a successful life. It does not take much observation to draw the conclusion that society has dropped the ball of ethics and abandoned their moral codes. What was considered to be ethical is now unethical and vice-versa. The establishment of virtues serves as axioms that guide our philosophy of life and defines what we value. Much can be assessed about a man when considering how he spends his time and money. Franklin spent his time on self-improvement and his resources on eliminating debt and helping others. As an introduction to this staff development, three questions must be asked: (1) What are the 13 virtues as outlined by Benjamin Franklin? (2) How can we implement these virtues as a part of my personal development plan? (3) What systematic approach will we use to continue to improve in areas of weakness and make these 13 virtues a part of our daily lives? Staff Development Number 1: “Name that Virtue” The objective of this short presentation would be to identify Franklin's 13 virtues, how circumstances in his life influenced these resolutions, and how he developed a systematic approach to practicing each of the 13 virtues. The participants would work in small groups to ascertain this information and share their findings with the whole. As a game, a description of each virtue and how it came about could be placed in a box. A virtue would be pulled and anyone from the group may identify the virtue. If the guess is correct, that group receives a point. The group with the most points wins a prize.
  3. 3. Staff Development Number 2: “Can You Identify the Virtue?” Staff development number 2 will begin with a film (DVD) depicting the life of Benjamin Franklin. After viewing the film, participants will work in cooperative groups to discuss perceptions of how historians described Ben Franklin's delinquent behavior as a teenager and identify which of the 13 virtues Franklin did or did not practice over the course of his life. After this discussion participants will think of other public figures in society who were successful or unsuccessful by their ability or lack of ability in using the 13 virtues. Finally, group participants will write reflective notes in a journal on which virtue or virtues, through utilization, gained them success and those they failed to implement that caused failure. Staff Development Number 3: “Plan Your Work/Work Your Plan” Now that each group has identified the 13 virtues and how they derived, observed how Benjamin Franklin practiced these virtues, the next step is to look at his 13 virtue implementation plan and model that plan or create an individual plan. Once an individual plan has been developed on which virtue to implement and the duration thereof, a journal or some form of rubric should be used to measure the effectiveness of one's action regarding the virtue. It is extremely important to remain conscientious of the virtue for that week on a daily basis and record the progress. At the end of the week, grade levels will discuss their findings and e-mail their comments to their administrator or share them at the next staff development. Staff Development Number 4: “School Community College” The purpose of this staff development is to analyze the accomplishments of Benjamin Franklin and how practicing the 13 virtues made him an icon of the model citizen relative to improving the city of Philadelphia, and contributing to the well- being of its’ citizens. Here, participants will understand how certain character traits enhance citizen's ability to fulfill personal and civic responsibilities. Group activities will involve trouble-shooting and problem-solving techniques as identified and addressed by Franklin's civic duties and accomplishments in helping his community. Each group will also brainstorm the needs in their school or communities and ways they might address those needs by utilizing certain elements of the 13 virtues. Finally, each group will create and present a collage exhibiting their ideas about ways to improve the school culture, climate, and community through the 13 virtues for success. Staff Development Number 5: “The World's Greatest” Staff development number five will serve as a culmination of everything the groups have learned about Benjamin Franklin's life, his 13 virtues, and his 13 virtues reflected in his civic responsibilities to the city of Philadelphia. Each participant will compose an essay on a public figure or personal role model who have made all or certain aspects of the 13 virtues a part of their moral fabric and live them on a daily basis. Upon review by administrators and consent of the writer, each reflective essay
  4. 4. will be highlighted during morning announcement in order to teach students and the school community, the value of character development. Concluding Remarks In conclusion, Benjamin Franklin did not always behave responsively. By the age of 20, he decided to take a serious approach to life and charted a course that would lead to moral perfection...a course he would seek to follow to the end of his days. Franklin's honesty that his life was out of control and the need to improve should teach and admonish us. As a member of the school community, it is important to take inventory of what character traits have been implemented and have improved our lives and those around us, or what aspects of the virtues have not been enforced, therefore stifling personal progress and the progress of others. In order to surpass oneself, a self-development plan must be developed, with a specific time period, and conscious reflection and strategies for improvement (Findley, 2002). Because we live in an increasingly diverse society, ineffective attitudes and behaviors will only inhibit a school's progress (Boone, 2000). The need for temperance, sincerity, industry, and order are just as critical to the survival of today's society and it was to previous generations. References Goldman, D. (2000). Working with emotional intelligence. New York: Marca Registrada Bantum Books. Findley, B. (May 2002). Traits and virtues: Establishing exercise physiologists as leaders. Professionalization of Exercise Physiology, 5 (5), 10-15. Boone, T. (January 2000). Leadership in exercise physiology. Professionalization of Exercise Physiology, 3 (1), 12-16.