An interesting, but disturbing, article written by Education Editor Anna Patty appeared in the major Sydney newspaper the Sydney Morning Herald the other day that really made me think about how “out of touch” I am about the virtue of Honesty.
The article is about how some private schools in Sydney have extraordinary levels of students gaining “special consideration” for the major school exam the Higher School Certificate.Â The article states “The NSW Board of Studies granted dispensations such as extra time to complete exams, coloured paper, large print and Braille or assistance with handwriting. The claims ranged from students with disabilities and illnesses such as diabetes, to those with unreadable handwriting and sweaty palms.”
The article also says that on average, state public schools have a 6.57% rate of candidates gaining “special consideration”, whereas, at least 25 private schools had rates of double the state average and some schools had over 20% of students with “special consideration”.
Obviously, many students and schools, are being very dishonest in seeking special consideration and the practice is nothing less than cheating. What sort of an example are we setting for our children if it is acceptable for over 1 in 5 families of some schools to be actively dishonest in gaining an advantage for their children?
Maybe I’m being very naive and perhaps the reality is that it is quite commonplace in schools throughout the world to condone this type of behaviour, however, in my opinion it is only encouraging children to think that it is OK to cheat and lie to get ahead rather than rely on hard work and dedication.
The kids are getting restless and the teachers are winding down during last week of school before the summer school holidays in Australia. What a better way to spend some time in this last week than letting the whole school watch the 52virtues movie and then presenting a 52virtues screensaver CD as prizes to the children whose artworks are represented in the screensaver.
Over 500 children packed into the Kincumber public school hall and watched the 52virtues movie with lots of giggling, laughing, Oohing and Aahing. One of the favourites with the teachers was Isabel’s virtue of love, and you can see why…
I can’t wait to see other schools around the world developing their own 52virtues artwork projects, what a fantastic way to bring peace and understanding throughout the world.
Imagine going to a junior school end of year presentation night and see that the school is actively promoting “Values”. I was lucky enough to attend our children’s school presentation last night and the values; self reliance, organisation, resilience, getting along and confidence were prominently displayed on the main stage. What a great way of promoting some of the 52 Virtues!
Here is a photograph of our daughter Phoebe with the Award for Music. She got the award because of her enthusiasm towards being in the school choir, the violin ensemble and the dance troupe.
“It is with great pleasure that we present Phoebe Beckers with the Col Murray Music Award. Phoebe’s love of music has been evident throughout her seven years at Kincumber Public School.
Â She has participated in numerous musical activities and is multi-talented. Phoebe sings, dances and plays the violin. She has been a committed and enthusiastic member of the school choir since year 3 and has attended all performances. Phoebe’s favourite dance styles are jazz and hip-hop and she has participated for the past two years in the school talen quest. This year her dance troup was placed 1st in their preliminary final for their performance in the quest and she also attended a Creative Arts Camp for dance.
Â Phoebe’s love for playing the violin has extended to public performance of the instrument. She has played at many schools assemblies, the Gosford City Council Environmental Awards ceremony and a member of the violin troupe that performed impressively at the Sydney Opera House.
Congratulations Phoebe, you are an inspiration to others and a very worthy recipient of this award for 2008.”
With Phoebe is a display box with one of the schools values. Phoebe’s self-confidence allowed her to gain the award and we are vey proud of you Phoebe, congratulations on your award.
Clancy our 10 year old son, also got an award for being a member of the team that won the Futsal State Finals, great effort Clancy, a fantastic display of the virtue of determination.
The election win and victory speech by US President elect Barak Obama was a turning point in the way we view the world. His speech talked about many of the things we all strive for such as prosperity, opportunity and peace, and even more inspiring was that he referred to many of the 52 Virtues such as honesty, service, responsibility, humility and determination.
Unity is being different from everyone else but being accepted by a group. Brianna 12
All of the 52 virtues have been interpreted by children at our local primary school at Kincumber on the central coast NSW Australia, by creating artworks around what they believe each virtue means. I’m sure that the children’s interpretations are not that different to what Barak Obama wanted to convey in his speech. Sarah wrote: “Service is giving a favour without asking” something very profound for a 9 year old. Our goal is to have artwork interpretations of the 52 virtues from at least 52 different cultures so a “virtues” movement will be created to help build a better world. Let the process begin!
Last night I had the honour of watching my 10 year oldÂ daughter Phoebe play the violin on stage at The Sydney Opera House. As you can imagine I was so proud of her and so happy for her that she was able to achieve such a huge goal that she had set herself.
The story of Phoebe and her friends’ success is a beautiful example of learning and practicing the virtue of persistence. You see, this is the third year Phoebe has had the opportunity to perform with hundreds of other young violinists at The Opera House. The first time she played she was only 8 and had only been playing for a few months before she was given the opportunity to start preparing for the first concert.
As she got closer to that first performance 3 years ago, the doubt started to set in. She imagined herself on stage, forgetting the music and everyone noticing. What a wonderful opportunity to learn to set goals, visualise success and practice persistence. Phoebe and I set small goals that she would need to achieve before she would be ready to perform. She set goals such as “getting her bowing movement correct”, memorising one piece of music etcÂ and put them on her calendar for specific dates. When she achieved each small goal she crossed it off the calendar and we celebrated with a “special dinner”, candlelight and kid’s food!
Phoebe also imagined herself on stage playing perfectly and looking happy. These steps helped her to be persistent and when that first concert came around she was excited and confident without a shred of self doubt. What a wonderful achievement for her.
Last night was Phoebe’s third appearance and the skill of persistence she learnt in that first year is now second nature to her. Playing on stage again she was confident, proud and excited to be with her friends.
But this is more than a story of persistence, it is also a story of the virtue of love. In the 2 hour concert there were nearly 1000 different young musiciansÂ taking part (700 recorder players is an amazing sight and sound). Each of those children could only have been there by applying persistence. There were nearly 3000 people in the audience and the atmosphere was buzzing. There was more energy in that huge concert hall than you would normally have in a concert where people had come to listen to beautiful music. On the way home, children exhausted and asleep in the back seat, I realised why. Every single person in that audience was there because they were a parent, grand-parent, sibling or friend of a child performing that night. Everyone in that room LOVED someone who was on stage. You can’t get a more positive energy in a room that that!
I spent the weekend with my mum, Bev, who at 72 is one of my greatest inspirations. We were talking about the 52 Virtues and especially of love. She told me a great story which Iâ€™d like to share with you.
When she was a child her father had a routine with his morning cup of tea. My grandmother would fill his cup and then let it over flow so his saucer would also be filled with tea. His treat was to put the cup to the side and sip from the saucer. Only then would he drink from the cup, often pouring some into the saucer again so he could sip from the saucer again.
Bev has a lot of love in her life and attracts beautiful and caring people to her. Her theory is that if you love yourself and have an overwhelming love for all around you, then love will always flow towards you.
She says that her cup of love is over flowing, she has so much to give, and that she feels that she is sipping from the saucer. What a beautiful way to look at life. I hope that you and your children find your cup of love over flowing and that you too can sip from the saucer. If you have any stories about love or any of the other 52 Virtues, why not share them here?
P.S.If you haven’t read The Family Virtues Guide yet, I recommend you get a copy as it has some wonderful ideas and inspiration on developing the virtues, including the virtue of love.
Hi Janet here with some exciting news.
I have just got off the phone to a wonderful woman, Rupy, who is visiting from Nepal. It seems our goal to have 52 Virtues projects in 52 countries in 52 months will be happening sooner than I thought! Don’t wonderful things happen when you decide to take action and aim to inspire others along the way?
While holidaying on the beautiful beaches here at Copacabana and MacMasters Beach, Rupy met my gorgeous friend Nina who owns Nina’s Little Shop. People can’t help but fall in love with Nina and Rupy and her formed quite a friendship while she was visiting.
Wouldn’t you know it, but Rupy runs a school in Katmandu and is keen to involve her children in a creative project that helps them learn and appreciate different cultures. How perfect is the 52 Virties Project for Rupy and what a wonderful opportunity for children in schools in different countries to work on something in common?
Rupy and I have just been talking and I have been able to send her information and some helpful tools to get her started. There is also the opportunity for Rupy’s school to raise money for educational materials if they decide to work with us to create a screen saver for people to buy through www.52virtues.com.
I’m really looking forward to working with Rupy and her children. I’ll keep you posted as her project progresses.
P.S. If you know of any schools or community groups that would like to start their own 52 Virtues Project, just let me know as I am happy to support them.
Welcome to our first blog post. To find out all about The 52 Virtues Project, please click on the link on the right which says “About 52 Virtues”. We’re very excitied about the birth of this project and hope to share with you thoughts by children from all over the world as they interpret the 52 Virtues through their artwork. You can find out the history of the project, our vision for 52 Virtues in 52 Countries in 52 DaysÂ and find out how you can be a part of it.
We’d love to hear from you, your thoughts and ideas on the project and any stories you may have about The 52 Virtues.
We also warmly welcome any comments children may like to make, especially children who are part of the project or would like to be involved in their own 52 Virtues Project.