Dispositions of an Educator – Goodness

Fruits of the Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control (Galatians 5: 22-23).

There are more than 300 million people in the United States.  Nearly one third are in K-12 Education.  Teachers are influencing the future education, culture, and character of young people.  Currently students do not believe character is important.  According to Educational Leadership (Weissbourd, May 2011), “…more than one third of juniors surveyed identified ‘getting into a good college’ as more important than ‘being a good person.’”  It is true that education and prestige are helpful in attaining a desirable job; however, most people that have worked for a significant amount of time will tell you that character is what allows a person to keep their job.  Ralph Waldo Emerson agrees by stating, “Character is higher than intellect.  A great soul will be strong to live as well as think.”  Character should have a higher priority than education itself.

Character Focus: Goodness

When I think of goodness, I think of great worship songs.  I remember singing one song in particular, “Father of Lights.”  Everything good comes from God.

Father of lights, You delight in Your children
Father of lights, You delight in Your children
Every good and perfect gift comes from You
Every good and perfect gift comes from You
Every good and perfect gift comes from You
Father of lights
Father of lights, You never change
You have no turning
Father of lights, You never change
You have no turning

(John Barnett)

According to the Apostle Peter, goodness is foundational to developing Godliness.  Peter states that add goodness to your faith; add knowledge to goodness; add self-control to knowledge; add perseverance to self-control; and Godliness will result (2 Peter 1: 4-6, NIV).  To illustrate this, I am reminded of a story of a pastor.  A senior pastor told a youth pastor, “Did you know there were four kids smoking outside the youth room last Wednesday evening?  What is your plan to discipline that behavior?”  The youth pastor (modeling the characteristic of Goodness) replied, “You mean I was able to get smokers to come to church?”  Goodness is a choice.  People can choose to see the goodness in situations or not.  When you choose to see goodness you also choose to see God at work.

As a teacher goodness is essential to appropriate character development.  Typically, we associate “good” with behavior in education.  In addition to behavior, teachers can choose to see the goodness in situations.  I teach teachers.  One of the most challenging parts of our program is during their student teaching internship.  This challenge brings many emotional, physical, and spiritual difficulties where some view the goodness and others do not.  Goodness is more powerful than many of us can fathom.  I recently attended a “Courage to Be You” event where two women shared their testimony of being rescued from sex-trafficking.  At this event both women shared how the incredible goodness of God resulted from their dark and evil experiences.  One person shared that when you are in the midst of the darkness it is difficult to see the goodness.  For example, looking at a Picasso painting up close may appear unorganized and messy.  However, when you step back and look at the painting the goodness can be viewed.  At this event I realized an entirely different level of goodness.  I think as educators we can make a choice to step back and view the goodness of situations in education.

Dr. Nathan Herzog



Weissbourd, R. (May 01, 2011). The Overpressured Student. Educational Leadership, 68, 8, 22-27.


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