Character Education

Picture of Gerard Atkin
Character Education
by Gerard Atkin - Wednesday, 15 May 2019, 8:22 PM

“What is the meaning of life?”  A deep and thought-provoking question that many of us struggle with answering.  This question was posed to young men studying Level One English as part of the emphasis on Character Education.  While young men studying at that level will not have a complete answer, the intent of the activity is to encourage them to think critically and to begin to develop an answer – one that will no doubt be modified and developed as they do.  Thanks to the young men who had the courage to share parts of their answers – hopefully their work will help to spark some dinner table conversations in our school community.


“Life. It begins from the moment you first open your eyes, lying in your mother’s arms, and it ends on a final breath. All 7,655,957,369 humans living on this planet have had a different experience: different triumphs, different failures, and different journeys. But the one thing that we all have in common is that we are all on a quest; a quest to seek the answer to a question, unknown since the beginning of time. What is the meaning of life? The people that you will meet, the things that you experience and the love that you will give and receive is what makes this all worth it. These are the things that will rescue you in the worst of times and sparks that fire inside of you that keeps you from letting go. These are the things that make life worth living.”

“Friends are yet another contributing factor that can help enhance our lives. We need to make connections with other people in this world. We must make friends to prevent us from boredom, to keep us company. However, it is important to make really trusted friends that we will grow to know personally rather than being popular and not knowing any of the ones that know us. This bring me to a quote said by someone not known for being an admirable person. Al Capone, an American gangster, said “I’d rather have four quarters rather than one hundred pennies.” Meaning that he would rather know and really trust much less people than he would, not know and trust less more people. We must learn to incorporate this into our lives.

Thus far we can see that there is no direct meaning of life. Life is not an adjective that has a direct definition; life is a noun, an object, a physical thing. Sometimes it will give us success and with that success comes failure. There will always, of course, be ups and downs. But tough. That is life. Learn to live with it.”

“I hope to make a difference in what I love to do because it will give my life an elevated sense of meaning. Making a difference in what I love to do is the ultimate way to be part of anything bigger than myself while still having a feeling of individuality. For example, we all have a passion. Whether we know it or not, something we love and can aim for will always be within reach. Figuring out what I love to do and charting a path to achieve in that field are just part of the idea. Of utmost importance, however, is to make a difference in the field. While this may not mean changing the overall structure of a future job, it could mean motivating others that with hard work, they can reach their goals. Making a difference in what I love to do could be as simple as giving a colleague some tips to improve their future career. As of now, I have a passion for badminton. I feel as if I have already done something for the sport because of how I have proved to future players they do not have to start playing from birth to be a competitive player in any sport. No matter what my future holds, I will strive to make an impact in what I love. I will aim to make a difference because that enables me to forever be part of something bigger. Making this difference enables us to play our part in a bigger picture, all while being ourselves. As the passion is my choice, my life will be especially meaningful because of how I managed to make a difference in what I loved. And even more important, the way I altered what I loved will last forever, because all I changed can be passed down even after my death. Making a difference in what I love to do gives my life a greater sense of meaning because of how it allows me to be part of something that will last longer and is bigger than myself.”

“Bob Marley beautifully expresses how I interpret happiness through this statement “Money is numbers and numbers never end. If it takes money to be happy, your search for happiness will never end.” Life would be obsequious having to purchase happiness, but it is not like that. It is invisible and it follows you around life through adversity and triumph times. Life truly embraces/happiness truly embraces freedom and creativity to additionally help you develop yourself into an experienced and uplifting person. As stated, failure makes you more experienced, only because of the happiness, maturity, wisdom, caution and understanding of life after. The results of failure, are impeccable, it turns your mindset around into believing and looking forward to furthering chapters of life in the script that you write. It is the reason you can persist through posterior confrontations. As Bob Marley implies, the most valuable thing on the planet is free. Happiness is found whenever and however you want it, it can save a partnership, a failure or even a life. This ultimately makes life meaningful. Challenges and freedom are pathways to this sensation. You do not have to be successful nor rich to receive happiness, it comes naturally through success, satisfaction alternatively, a fulfilled life. Failure is always rewarded with the same feeling. That is why life is worth it.”