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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Moral intelligence

Or, how to be kind

The words jumped off the book jacket--The Moral Intelligence of Children. If ever there was a subject for the church, I thought, this is it, particularly amid this culture's deteriorating behavior.

Author Robert Coles, the Harvard Pulitzer Prize winner, says the term refers to children who are good and kind, who think about others, who are "smart" that way. Moral intelligence "isn't only acquired by memorization of rules and regulations," he continues, or "by classroom discussion or kitchen compliance. We grow morally as a consequence of learning how to be with others, how to behave in this world, a learning prompted by taking to heart what we have seen and heard. The child is an ever attentive witness of grown-up morality." This is the age when conscience is built.


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May issue

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