Family and Consumer Sciences teachers have long been viewed as a diverse group of educators qualified to implement education for character. As instructors who are role models of many expectations that parents and community members see for their children, family and Consumer Sciences educators are expected to teach and reinforce the concepts of self-esteem, responsibility, conflict resolution, respect, honesty, reliability, commitment, responsible decision-making, cooperation, and perseverance.
Family and Consumer Sciences teachers in Mississippi have accepted the challenge by providing a course that enables students to investigate the consequences of their actions and decisions so that they can choose wisely and maximize their potentials. The major content areas of the course are Dimensions of Personal Development, Family Systems in Today’s Society, and Parenting Decisions and Responsibilities. Process strands that permeate the course content areas are Critical Thinking, Decision Making, Communication, Conflict Management, and Resource Management.
“Character is the foundation stone upon which one must build to win respect. Just as no worthy building can be erected on a weak foundation, so no lasting reputation worthy of respect can be built on a weak character. “Character progresses as values become virtues. Virtues enable people to “respond to situations in a morally good way “. A character so conceived includes moral knowing, moral feeling, and moral behavior. Good character includes knowing what is good, desiring what is good, and doing what is good.
All three habits make up moral maturity and are pertinent to a moral life that is capable of functioning in a social environment. The role of education in the training of youth in the area of values dates back to ancient Greece where Plato considered the moral problems of individual behavior in relation to the social good and decided that very early in a child’s life “a beginning should be made to train his mind to discriminate between good and harmful pleasures”. Aristotle stated that the “end of education should be above all else the development of an actively good man”.