As a teenager, Lincoln studied an arithmetic book that survives today and is now part of the Herndon-Weik Collection. In the bottom left corner of one page, there is a faded verse that Lincoln wrote. A reproduced enhanced version is below. It seems Lincoln recognized his rascally tendencies at a young age. What a great way to spark conversation about character education.
Character Education in Abraham Lincoln’s Dueling Words:
There are many character-education connections in Abraham Lincoln’s Dueling Words. In 1842, Lincoln wrote a politically-motivated letter to the editor of the Sangamo Journal that criticized the Democrats and poked fun at State Auditor James Shields in a way that crossed the line of propriety. Lincoln later referred to his letter as the meanest thing he had ever done. In the end, he had a decision to make. Would he allow his great big mistake to define him? Or would it motivate him to be a better man.
Click the Teacher’s Guide image below to view and print the full document. You can also see it on the Peachtree Publishers website here.
There are great organizations that focus on character education. You might want to look at these as a start:
George Lucas Educational Foundation