Relive the Messages
”We need to be reminded more than we need to be taught”

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Keynote: Be Wonderful

  • Wonderful isn’t something we do, it is something we are. It is a way of being.

  • The number one thing we need our student leaders to BE is Kind.

  • Convenience is the enemy of compassion.

  • “I don’t have time” vs. “It is not my priority.”

  • Throw Kindness around like it is the most meaningful and important resource we have.

  • Nice is reactive, Kindness is proactive! Nice happens when we have time, Kind happens because we MAKE time. KIND > NICE.

  • There is a gap in our world between what we know is GOOD and what we are actually GOOD at. Kindness is a learned skill.

  • If we want our students to BE Kind, we must teach:

    • Empathy: Being with people in their hurt. Presence over post-it notes.

    • Humility: Asking for help. The vulnerable recognition we can’t do this alone. If we don’t ask for help, we rob people of the opportunity to give it.

    • Commitment: The disciplined pursuit of something consistently over time. When we try to do everything, we end up doing nothing very well.

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Pre-Con: Award Winning Culture

  • “Culture goes much deeper than a mission statement. It is how group members actually behave, repeatedly and habitually.” -James Hunter

  • Culture exists in three circles: Clarity, Competence, and Consistency. Oftentimes, campuses have 2 of the 3, but that leaves us with a few problems:

    • A Culture of No How: We know what is important and we see/talk about it often, but the staff or students don’t have the skills to bring the vision to life. It is a culture that is busy, but not productive.

    • A Culture of No Why: We teach a lot of skills, we talk about our culture often, but there is no deep buy-in or clear, unifying purpose. It is a culture that is busy, but not passionate.

    • A Culture with No When: Inspiration doesn’t mean application. A big message with little follow through is like going the gym ONCE. It is a culture of inconsistency - a culture of good ideas, but no habits.

  • A CharacterStrong Culture is when all three intentionally intersect. We do this by creating deep purpose in students and staff, teaching the competencies required for compassion and connection, and creating simple, practical ways to consistently weave these SEL and character conversations & skills into the daily fabric of our classrooms and campuses.

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Workshop: Closing the Empathy Gap

  • We must clarify, reflect, practice, and live Empathy.

  • Clarify:

    • Apathy: Walking by someone

    • Sympathy: Pitying someone

    • Empathy: Being with someone. “Sharing a baguette.”

    • Compassion: “To suffer with” + and active desire to alleviate that suffering.

  • Reflect:

    • What is a feeling you don’t like to feel?

    • Who do you need to “share a baguette” with?

  • Practice:

    • Yale’s RULER tool for emotional check ins.

    • What is your primary feeling today, this week, this year?

    • Asking meaningful questions and listening well to answers. Here is your homework link: https://www.characterstrong.com/empathy

  • Live:

    • 45% of our day is habit. Great leaders get thoughtful about what goes in that 45%.

    • Constraint creates creativity! We must teach young people to think about how they think about Empathy.


CharacterStrong Case Studies
See CS in action at a Middle School and High School