Posts by Dr. Mose Durst

These posts are short essays written by Dr. Mose Durst related to character education and often relate to the themes in Pastor Thompson's sermons. 

  • The Principled Academy is a religious school. The theologian Paul Tillich defines religion as an ultimate belief, a foundational principle of who we are, and what we believe. These core principles at our school are: (1) That we are all created in the image and substance of a lawful and loving God. (2) That each person is very precious and has great potential value. (3) That value is realized through moral and compassionate behavior. (4) That parents and teachers are responsible for nurturing children to become people of good character, responsible and compassionate human beings.

  • As middle school students graduate and prepare to enter high school, I urge them to seek good mentors. These students might be puzzled by the word "mentor", but they already have been mentors. At The Principled Academy, they have been "reading buddies" to younger students, accompanied them on field trips, and tutored some of them. As part of our Character Education focus of the school, students greet each other in the morning assembly by saying, "Good morning, brothers and sisters." We want students to feel like a family where we are all committed to each other and care about each other - the basis of mentoring.

  • What is the most extreme example of moral behavior?  My example would be the righteous Christians who risked their lives to protect Jews from the Nazi murderers.  When scholars studied this altruistic behavior they discovered something very ordinary.  
    These altruists explained that their moral behavior was learned at home, where they took seriously what they were taught by their parents. 

  • "Middle school is brutal.  Ask just about anyone, and they'll very likely tell you it was the worst time of their life…" 

    Since I teach in middle school at The Principled Academy, I was anxious to read the newly- 
    published book, And They Stopped Talking to Me, by Judith Warner.  I guess I have been unaware of what I should be experiencing.  Warner describes the feeling of exclusion many middle schoolers feel (hence the title of her book), the bullying, insults, popularity contests, sexual attraction, dress demands, and pressure from parents, among many other tortures. 

  • The title of this essay is from a book by Thomas Lickona of the same name.  Raising a good child is perhaps the most challenging and rewarding activity in life.  Parents see a child go through dramatic changes from year to year and sometimes from moment to moment.  Psychologists and educators give us a framework of child development that can enable us to understand that there are stages of moral reasoning and moral behavior.