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Character

Episode 2 of 3

Is good character the key to success? Mariella Frostrup and guests discuss the significance of character in the parenting of the next generation.

Character can be broadly defined as the collection of strengths and weaknesses that form and define who we are. But to get an idea of what constitutes "good" character we have to go back to the ancient Greek philosophers like Aristotle, who said that the potential for good character is by nature in humans but whether virtues come to be present or not is not determined by human nature but as a consequence of following the right habits.

Fast forward a couple of millennia and the role of character is again a hot topic. As a generation of children emerge into an adult world of fierce competition, shrinking job markets and over-subscribed and costly higher education, questions are being asked about how prepared they are for this strange new world. And with anxiety at epidemic levels and a huge rise in cases of depression in teenagers; could focus on character and character education be as important as grades in equipping children for an uncertain future.

Joining Mariella Frostrup to discuss this are Baroness Claire Tyler, Lib Dem peer from the Social Mobility All Party Parliamentary Group; Tom Harrison, the Deputy Director of the Jubilee Centre for Character and Values at the University of Birmingham; Tim Gill, a writer and consultant on childhood issues; Sue Atkins, a parenting expert, writer and coach , and Dr Anthony Seldon, Master of Wellington College.

Producer: Alison Hughes.

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43 minutes

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