In 1864, Herbert Spencer gave us a term in which we are all too familiar with. The term, “Survival of the fittest,” was used to describe Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection. But what does it mean to be fit?
Who decides and what criteria do they use? When applied to our children, is it the best looking ones that are considered the fittest? Are the children who know the most facts the fittest? Perhaps the fittest children are the ones with the most wealth. While all these qualities are great, especially in a society that focuses so much attention to them, they don’t necessarily qualify a person as fit. Would the captain of the high school football team and his cheerleader girlfriend make the fittest parents?
Truth is, the fit is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as being well-suited, equipped, qualified, and worthy. The external factors of wealth, beauty, strength, and academic status are less effective in determining fitness than the inherent, internal factors such as virtues and self-worth.
In regards to our children, who is responsible to instill or exhume these characteristics or attributes?
Most would agree that although the educational system attempts to address and expect appropriate behavior, the ultimate responsibility rests in the hands of the parents. Hence, the imbalance of equality presents a problem in which to seek a solution. For there exist many factors that are used to justify parenting which produces children who are unprincipled or who are lacking in virtues. Whether it be the demands of society, the different styles of parenting, the lack of being effective in teaching the qualities, or simply the lack of concern for such virtues; inequality is inevitable.
In 2001, Congress passed The No Child Left Behind Act to provide all children with an equal opportunity to receive a quality education. The passing of this act serves as an acknowledgment of how inequality negatively affects our children and society. However, although this act aims to reduce or eliminate the gap of academic achievement, the subject content standards take precedence over moral development.
Creating Changes…where it Counts. The Truth And Dare program for teenagers is about acknowledging the importance of the moral development of our children, desiring to give all children an equal opportunity to obtain experiential and qualified instruction focused on moral development, and aiming to redirect responsibility of these teachings onto a unified and qualified educational system.
The mission of Truth And Dare is to provide children and adults with the necessary skills, tools, and desires to open the doors to Self-Improvement through the achievements of Self-Acceptance and Self-Worth. Truth And Dare aims to not only motivate its reader to know themselves, accept themselves, create themselves, and Dare to just BE themselves, the program also shows them HOW!
The ultimate goal is to have the Truth And Dare program for teenagers implemented within the educational system. On a smaller scale, the goal of Truth And Dare is simply to encourage people to practice the virtuous behaviors which represent the best person they can be and to impel them with the desire to positively influence others to do so as well. The program focuses on aligning our best intentions with our behaviors so we can achieve our fullest potential in life.
Many of the pressures children deal with externally stem from internal insecurities or fears. Trying to fit in, trying to avoid rejection and conforming for acceptance can often leave children unprotected and vulnerable. What would children need to really succeed? Self-Acceptance, Self-Respect, and a stable sense of Self-Worth provide a strong, protective shield for their battles.
So, who is responsible for providing children with the education, skills, and encouragement they need to reach their fullest potential in life? As it stands, parents are held responsible. Truth is, our schools offer the best opportunity to reach out to our children. Qualified instruction, structured programs and equal exposure for all children is necessary to acquire desired results. Redirecting responsibility onto the qualified, unified educational system can produce a brighter future.
Without change – we merely get more of the same!
Expect the Best! If a teenager is introduced to the program and takes only the first step of reading the text, they can gain insightful skills of recognizing when a virtue is displayed or when the opportunity to be virtuous presents itself. Just this step alone will help the teen to hold themselves accountable for their lives and exposes them to the Truth about how their thinking and attitudes directly affect their success and happiness in life. If the second step of attempting the dares is taken, the experiencing of the virtue is likely to produce both internal and external benefits. If the third step of daily practicing the dares is taken, the habit of virtuous behavior defines the teenager’s good character. Finally, if the teenager takes the fourth and final step of recording their progress within the journal, they may gain a well established sense of awareness which will guide them to use Self-Examination throughout their life to achieve Self-Acceptance and Self Worth
Truth And Dare is not about telling our children what to do or how to behave. The program uses coaching techniques and skills to motivate, educate, and empower teens to “Be a better ‘You’ today… than the you of yesterday.” Truth And Dare teaches that change takes time, but each moment brings us new opportunities for growth and improvement. The dares in the program allows the reader to experience the benefits of virtuous behavior and challenges them to look for and make choices that best represent the person they want to be.