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The Step-By-Step Plan to Building Moral Intelligence
by Michele Borba, Ed.D.

Author of Building Moral Intelligence: The Seven Essential Virtues that Teach Kids to Do the Right Thing

Moral intelligence is the capacity to understand right from wrong; it means to have strong ethical convictions and to act on them so that one behaves in the right and honorable way. It consists of seven essential virtues. Building Moral Intelligence by Dr. Michele Borba (Jossey-Bass Publishers, 2001) provides a complete step-by-step plan for teaching kids these critical virtues they'll need to do what's right and resist any pressures that may defy the habits of good character.

The Seven Essential Virtues of Moral Intelligence

1. EMPATHY: Identifying with and feeling other people's concerns.
Step 1. Foster awareness and an emotional vocabulary.
Step 2. Enhance sensitivity to the feelings of others.
Step 3. Develop empathy for another person’s point of view.
2. CONSCIENCE: Knowing the right and decent way to act and acting in that way.
Step 1. Create the context for moral growth.
Step 2. Teach virtues to strengthen conscience and guide behavior.
Step 3. Foster moral discipline to help kids learn right from wrong.
3. SELF-CONTROL: Regulating your thoughts and actions so that you stop any pressures from within or without and act the way you know and feel is right.
Step 1. Model and prioritize self-control to your child.
Step 2. Encourage your child to become his own self motivator.
Step 3. Teach your child ways to deal with temptations and think before acting.
4. RESPECT: Showing you value others by treating them in a courteous and considerate way.
Step 1. Convey the meaning of respect by modeling and teaching it.
Step 2. Enhance respect for authority and squelch rudeness.
Step 3. Emphasize good manners and courtesy--they do count!
5. KINDNESS: Demonstrating concern about the welfare and feelings of others.
Step 1. Teach the meaning and value of kindness.
Step 2. Establish a zero tolerance for meanness and nastiness.
Step 3. Encourage kindness and point out its positive effect.
6. TOLERANCE: Respecting the dignity and rights of all persons, even those beliefs and behaviors we may disagree with.
Step 1. Model and nurture tolerance from an early age.
Step 2. Instill an appreciation for diversity.
Step 3. Counter stereotypes and do not tolerate prejudice.
7. FAIRNESS: Choosing to be open-minded and to act in a just and fair way.
Step 1. Treat your kids fairly.
Step 2. Help your child learn to behave fairly.
Step 3. Teach your child ways to stand up against unfairness and injustice.

About the Author: Michele Borba, Ed.D. a former classroom teacher, is an internationally renowned consultant and educator who has presented workshops to over half a million participants. She is the recipient of the National Educator Award and the author of eighteen books including Parents Do Make A Difference (Jossey-Bass) which was named by Child Magazine as an "outstanding parenting book of the year." She is a frequent guest expert on television and National Public Ratio talk shows including The view, ABC Home Show, The Parent Table, and is quoted in numerous national publications. She lives in Palm Springs, California with her husband and three teenage sons. Information on her publications and seminars can be accessed through her Web site, www.moralintelligence.com.

© 2001 by Michele Borba. Please contact for permission to reprint.

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