“Give 7” Helps Build Character and Respect in Children

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As a high school teacher and former coach, nothing bothers me more than disrespectful student attitudes. It is a precursor to the deterioration of the type of positive teaching and coaching environment where all can learn. And as my career has progressed, disrespectful behavior, both in type and amount, has certainly been on the increase; something most assuredly uncharacteristic of what you would want in any high school.

I have long concluded that teaching positive attributes, such as proper respect and consideration, needs to be accomplished at an early age so as to become part of an individual’s core belief system. One where respectful, thoughtful behavior is given automatically and, thus, returned in kind. Simply put, it is a demonstration of good character.

Well, it seems that if businesswoman Jen Baker Leonard has her way, change will come as she has made it her mission to help develop these valuable, yet seemingly lost, commodities in younger children. At least to the ones who attend her Little Sport kids’ programs.

Recently highlighted in the piece “Haddonfield Business Owner Teaches Character to Kids” at haddonfield.patch.com, Mrs. Leonard is trying to make a difference through using what she calls a “Give 7” approach. A simple concept really, “Give 7” means to address another individual with “a firm five-finger handshake and two eyes of eye contact to another person.”

Through the young kids program at her company, she encourages this respectful, considerate behavior as part of normal children’s teachings, consequently building strong foundations from which solid character can develop.

Sounds to me like a great idea. Now if we can incorporate those types of teachings, and include teaching our younger generation how to take personal responsibility for, and ownership over, their own success (instead of the more common entitlement attitudes we seem to encourage), in our school system, then we just might have something.


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