The Character Issue: Kindness and Respect - SLO Classical Academy
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Welcome to Down Home, San Luis Obispo Classical Academy’s blog! We are a classical school offering several options to make our education work for families with infants through high schoolers. Our signature hybrid program, which is part-time classroom and part-time home instruction, provides an engaging education for preschool through middle school (with full time options available). We also have a university model high school. This blog is meant to support and encourage on the home front because, in so many ways, the heart of what happens at SLO Classical Academy happens down home.

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The Character Issue: Kindness and Respect

I always prefer to believe the best of everybody, it saves so much trouble.

— Rudyard Kipling

Welcome to The Character Issue for the month of October. At SLOCA we heartily believe that character counts and that kindness and respect are essential to character building.

Developing character is a process. It requires practice and intention. It doesn’t just happen overnight. Thinking of others first is the essence of kindness and respect. However, we are often naturally bent to think of ourselves first, especially kids. So how do we encourage these character traits in our children and ourselves? Talking about them is a good place to begin.

Let’s start with kindness…

Kindness: recognizing that relationships are core to who we are becoming, and therefore being tender, courteous, helpful, forgiving and compassionate towards others and self. Looking for the goodness in all. Being unselfish and generous.

Catch phrase: Be nice!

Forging Character: Kindness

Below you will find some questions and activities to promote kindness in your home.

      • What does it mean to be kind?
      • Go over the SLOCA definition of kindness (see above). Make sure everyone understands it and see how it matches up with your family’s definition.
      • Why should we be kind? What about when someone is not kind to you?
      • Why do you think people are so often unkind?
      • Share something kind that someone did for you. How did it make you feel?
      • Think of a time you did something kind for someone. Did you enjoy doing it? Was it challenging?
      • What does it mean to give someone “the benefit of the doubt”?
      • Make a list of kind things that you can do. How can you show kindness to your family, neighbors, classmates, and/or your community, etc.? Set a goal. Maybe attempt one kind act a day or week. At the month’s end share your experience as a family. Consider keeping it going another month.
      • Discuss this quote from Aesop — “No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.”
      • Have fun finding quotes about kindness. Post them around your house.
      • Make a “Kindness” board. Write down acts of kindness you’ve experienced.
      • Teach your kids (and if necessary, yourself) to KNiT — Here’s how: before speaking (or writing) ask yourself, “Is it Kind? Is it Necessary? and Is it True?” If it does not pass through those three gateways, it probably doesn’t need to be said.

On to respect…

Respect: Showing high regard, value and appreciation for authority, others, self and property.

Catch Phrase: You don’t have to like or agree with everyone, but you do need to treat them with respect.

Forging Character: Respect

    • What is respect?
    • Why do people need to be respected?
    • Can you be kind to someone you do not respect?
    • What does it look like to respect someone you do not necessarily agree with? See if your kids can come up with some examples.
    • What is self-respect? Why is it important?
    • Why do you think “property” is included in the definition of respect?
    • Discuss this Albert Einstein quote — “I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university.”
    • Think of a few people that you highly respect. What is it about them that you respect?
    • How do you few when someone shows you respect? How do you feel when someone disrespects you?
    • Don’t forget — modeling is one of the best ways to encourage specific behaviors in our kids. Make sure you are modeling for them how to be kind and respectful.


We hope these ideas have been helpful. Here’s one more: Print out these posters (see the links below) and let the kids color them while you have a discussion about these traits, then post them as reminders for the month.

Kindness — Coloring Page

Respect — Coloring Page

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