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Building Moral Intelligence: The Seven Essential Virtues that Teach Kids to Do the Right Thing [Hardcover]

Michele Borba
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

May 15 2001
Gain a new understanding of moral intelligence, and a step-by-step program for its achievement from bestselling author, Michele Borba. In this indispensable book for parents, Borba has created a new break-through in conceptualizing and teaching virtue, character and values under the auspices of a measurable capacity -- Moral Intelligence. This book confronts the front-page crisis we now face in our country regarding youth violence, alienation, self-destructive behavior, cold-heartedness, lack of compassion, insensitivity, intolerance and the break down of values. The author provides a new way to understand, evaluate and inspire our kids with the seven essential virtues which comprise moral intelligence.

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From Publishers Weekly

Television, games, the Internet, peers and other forces shape children's morality, but consultant and educator Borba (Parents Do Make a Difference) argues that it is parents who provide the most enduring modeling and instruction. Kids, she asserts, should be fortified against the onslaught of increasingly negative cultural influences violent video games, nasty music lyrics by parental involvement and guidance. Designed as a guide for parents and caregivers of children from three to 15 years old, the book describes an epidemic deficiency in the moral development of American kids and outlines seven virtues (Empathy, Conscience, Self-Control, Respect, Kindness, Tolerance and Fairness) to be engendered in children. Devoting an identically designed chapter to each virtue, she defines the virtue in accessible and secular language. She then provides a test for parents to assess their children and offers practical actions parents can take on a daily basis. Throughout, her tone is pragmatic and optimistic. She advises parents to make sure they are providing a moral example that they would want their children to follow in other words, watch their own behavior. She advises parents to be direct about their own moral beliefs and encourage specific virtuous behaviors. Borba concludes the book with a helpful resource list. A packed storehouse, this helpful, informative and hopeful book will be dog-eared over years of consultation. (July)Forecast: Many readers will recognize Borba's name; as an expert on "bullying," she makes frequent TV appearances, and on Oprah's Mom Online she is the "Moral Intelligence Pro." This book is timely; given public debates on media violence, and the prevention of juvenile crime, it's likely to be widely read and referenced.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Writing with confident authority and providing good, current references, Borba offers "a step by step blueprint for enhancing your child's moral capacity" the ethical compass that charts a youngster's moral fate. She first defines seven intertwining "essential virtues of moral intelligence and solid character": empathy, conscience, self-control (these first three form a "moral core"), respect, kindness, tolerance, and fairness. Ensuing chapters suggest how to incubate, nurture, and master individual virtues using realistic, workable methods. The book recalls Becky A. Bailey's Easy To Love, Difficult To Discipline (LJ 2/15/00), which frames "loving guidance" in seven-part structures (seven values for living, seven powers of self control, etc.). It's also similar to Borba's own Parents Do Make a Difference (Jossey-Bass, 1999). All these books have noble goals yet require a high initial investment of energy and time; this is not a quick fix but a way of living. Of course, many of those who really need Borba's book won't read it; if more people mastered these traits, the world would be a different and better place. Recommended for larger public libraries. Douglas C. Lord, Connecticut State Lib., Hartford
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
"Building Moral Intelligence" by Dr. Michele Borba is a book that every parent should read and own. In a world where there are so many negative influences on the internet, in the media, T.V. shows, magazines etc. many parents do not even realize the amount of immoral influences that our children are witnessing every single day. As parents, it is up to us to teach our children the importance of good character. We need to teach them about the seven essential virtues as Dr. Borba explains in her book!
I realize that I'm digressing from a review, but I want to say this. Our world and our lives have changed recently, but the one thing that remains the same is that our children are the future. And as Theodore Roosevelt said "To Educate a Person in Mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society" This book will not only help you raise good kids, it will open any readers eyes and hearts, inspiring them to build their moral intelligence as well. We must teach by example...this book will help you do that! If you want your kids to do the right thing, then this book is for you!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Step-by-step process for enhancing moral capacity Oct. 25 2001
There are seven essential virtues--empathy, conscience, self-control, respect, kindness, tolerance, and fairness--that the author believes helps a child deal with ethical challenges and pressures she will encounter throughout life. Each chapter offers strategies for enhancing moral intelligence including...a self-test to evaluate your child's virtue strength, practical ways to enhance the virtue (several to choose from, so you can choose the ones best suited to your child's temperament and learning style), discussion questions to help launch a dialog with your child, and much more. The one thing that was missing was information on what behavior is developmentally appropriate by age. For example the quizzes on each virtue are great...but perhaps it's not as serious if a 4-year-old is somewhat selfish or less empathetic than it is for a 12-year-old. Other than that and the occasional feeling like the book was written for some parents needing significant moral boosting themselves (advice like "don't ask your kids to lie for you"), I found the book very educational and uplifting.
Bottom line - This book provides tools to teach critical ethical principles to your child...enabling parents (teachers, etc.) to better model, inspire and reinforce these moral values.
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While I still maintain a child can best learn from a positive example, unfortunately in today's society, not all parents are setting positive examples. I have counselled many children over the years and in a vast majority of cases, what has contributed most to the need for counselling in the first place has been the absence or lack of adequate parenting skills. There are excellent parents in existence, for many it comes naturally. For others, they never "get the act together." Some individuals, for whatever reason, simply do not possess the bonding ability, tolerance, time, energy, understanding and financial resources to raise a child for the first eighteen years of their life. There are also those parents who feel they are doing "everything right" when in reality, they may be making every mistake in the book.
When a child has become so unhappy, emotionally insecure, rude, defiant and/or physically abusive that the parent(s) can no longer deal with their child, he/she is inevitably pointed in the direction of a counsellor, either by the parent(s) or the courts, to miraculously "fix the problem." In many cases, had the child been raised in a positive, loving, nurturing, understanding, respectful and accepting environment, and learned the importance of moral intelligence, the child would not be sitting in front of me at all. Good relationships, whether it be husband and wife, parent(s) and child, do not just happen. They need time, open communication, commitment, love, understanding, encouragement and a lot of work if they are to grow and survive. "Building Moral Intelligence..." is an excellent learning tool for young, inexperienced parents or any parent who chooses to expand their knowledge on the subject.
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By E
One of the more encouraging developments in the concern about the character and behavior of our young people has been the publication of books designed to bring the research of social scientists and educators to the public in a format and context that could be easily understood. Thomas Lickona accomplished this in 1981 with his outstanding book Raising Good Children, and William Damon also in 1988 with his The Moral Child. Michele Borba has continued that tradition calling on both the latest research findings as well as her extensive experience as an educator and visiting consultant and her knowledge base as the mother of three sons. She has written a remarkably thorough and yet completely accessible book on the whole topic of building moral intelligence, focusing on seven essential virtues she has identified, that teaches children moral behavior. I wondered how she could possibly succeed at covering such an extensive topic. She does it by presenting interesting scientific data, by skillfully summarizing much of the complex and sophisticated research results in this field, and by innovatively interspersing the science with useful and entertaining experiences and anecdotes that illustrate each virtue and each desirable behavior or issue. The useful general and scientific references are found in her notes at the end. Dr. Borba never strays from her theme and purpose, and in doing so has written arguably the most comprehensive and useful book yet available on the important subject of how we as parents, family members, teachers, and members of the health professions can evaluate and help children to build their moral intelligence. I work with children in a mental hospital, and I only wish that their parents had read or will read this book. It would/will make a critical difference. If you could only afford one book on moral intelligence, this is definitely the one to pick!
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest Gift Of All
Very useful prescription to put kids on. It is what's missing in America today. To those who really love their family and our country, be sure to read Building Moral Intelligence... Read more
Published on Feb. 22 2003 by A Concerned Parent
5.0 out of 5 stars It's what we need...
At a time when confusion seems to reign, Michele Borba's book is a ressuring tool that helps to keep our family grounded. Read more
Published on Dec 24 2001 by Gordon Astles
5.0 out of 5 stars Building the future -- one child at a time ...
I applaud this book!
During my 25 years teaching in public schools, I have witnessed a disturbing shift in the way young people view themselves and the world around them. Read more
Published on Aug. 2 2001 by Greg Morse
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended for Parents and Educators
Dr. Michele Borba has a long and successful track record helping build the moral character of our youth. Read more
Published on July 25 2001 by Daniel Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars Kids Need This Book
At a time when we are hearing nothing but horrendous stories about student shootings and kids' lack of character, it's so refreshing to find a book that offers solutions and shows... Read more
Published on May 29 2001 by Barbara Benton
If every parent had just one book on their nightshelf this should be the one. It's packed with simple, usable ideas I can use instantly to help my kids become decent human beings. Read more
Published on May 28 2001 by Jim Davis
5.0 out of 5 stars Tools for preparing my kids for life
Being the mother of two small girls about to enter the public school system, I have spent many nights worrying what kinds of challenges lay ahead. After reading Dr. Read more
Published on May 26 2001
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