When I was a student taking the required psychology courses, one really stuck in my mind.
It seems so simple now. Reinforce good behavior and youll get positive responses. Give lots of attention to bad behavior and thats the surest way ensure more of it.
So, how can we as a newspaper reinforce good behavior?
Enter "Sun-Sentinel Kids of Character."
One of the reasons we feel so good about the "Kids of Character" program is that it provides enormous opportunities to highlight the positive behavior of our children.
Many people believe the newspaper tends to focus on the negative.
And, it's true that our job is to document news of significance.
Sometimes harsh news involving young people appears in the newspaper.
Things like school shootings, kids killed by drag racing, threats to teachers and other high-profile crime-oriented stories simply can't be avoided.
But a lot of positive stories are out there too, and we are just as committed to getting those into the newspaper.
This special section is one example. You won't see a special section on kids in trouble but you will see one on "Kids of Character."
In this program, we are in a partnership with the Broward County schools to identify and spotlight young men and women who have been outstanding examples in demonstrating strong character.
We are involved in other programs as well that focus on the good works of local students.
The Sun-Sentinel was just awarded a national award from "Kids Voting USA" for its commitment to partnership with the local "Kids Voting" organization to raise awareness of the electoral process to young people.
These are good stories to tell.
And, the "Kids of Character" has special meaning to us.
Our Community News Editor, John Chace who has been a key player in this initiative, explains why it is so important.
"Our whole approach is to showcase kids for performing acts of kindness and other positive traits," he said. "The media has always honored kids for academics and athletics and while that's good, it was time to recognize kids just for making good moral choices."
The community should feel good that the school district has taken an aggressive approach to character education. The Florida Legislature had passed a statute requiring that character development curriculum be taught at the elementary levels, but the local district pushed the training to all grade levels.
We salute all the top honorees and those receiving honorable mentions in this program.