My enthusiasm for the Peaceful Schools Program (PSP) arises from my
background in teaching leadership and ethics. In that work, I like to quote a
guru from whom I have learned much, Patrick Lencioni. He said that in his
twenty-five years working with fine executives and employees, he found that
“what the most successful ones have in common has little or nothing to do with
their educational background or raw intelligence, and almost everything to do
with emotional intelligence, character, and work ethic.”*
Lencioni‘s observation underscores powerfully the value of the PSP for both
elementary children and high school youth. PSP supplements their educational
experiences with development of both character and emotional intelligence.
In my study and teaching of ethics at West Point, it was clear that positive
character attributes for leaders must include the acquired habit of asking two
basic questions before making a decision or taking an action. First question,
what fundamental principles of human interaction are at stake in the decision I
am about to make or the action I am about to take? We as Rotarians answer
that truthfulness and fairness are the two important principles that we try to
protect in our decisions or actions. Good answers, Rotarians!
Second question, what consequences caused by my prospective decision or
action will be best for the most people? We Rotarians answer that the
consequences we seek to optimize by our decisions or actions are goodwill and
friendships and benefit to all concerned. More good answers, Rotarians!
In sum, I conclude that the Four Awesome Questions comprise a sound and
comprehensive ethical test. Teaching it as a habit builds positive character!
Moreover, in PSP we complete the package in every lesson in every class by
drawing out the essence of emotional intelligence: recognizing the emotions
arising in me and others and using that understanding to shape my own
behavior toward those others.
Wow! In PSP, we are contributing developments in young people which
predictably foster their long-term success and happiness in life. What could be
– Larry Donnithorne
*Quoted from an email message from P. Lencioni at The Table Group, June 3, 2015