Cultivating Character

Our mission statement tells us the what (cultivating character), how (through learning) and why (for a life of service to God) of HDCH.  Cultivating character is not an exact science, a standardised operation with a set input and predictable output.  Every person is different and develops differently at different times.  So how do we try to develop the character of our students through learning at HDCH?

The first thing we do is work on our own characters.  If we are not cultivating good character in ourselves, developing good habits, how can we lead our students in this?  Thus, through our personal and communal devotions, through our lives of worship and prayer, through our collegial support for one another’s personal and professional development, we seek to encourage one another on our road to character.

Secondly, through our classes we focus not only on meeting (and exceeding) the expectations of the Ontario curriculum, but also on developing the habits that we see as foundational to our students’ character for lives of service.  You may have seen these as the aspirational “Habits of an HDCH Graduate”: compassion, creativity, resilience, competence, and reflection.

Thirdly, we try to cultivate the character of our students through our interactions inside and outside the classroom, primarily through conversations.  As noted above, each student is different, and on a different part of their unique journey, so knowing them and loving them is important to us if we are to be instrumental, together with their parents, in cultivating their character.  Habits of character are formed through crucible experiences and meaningful conversations.

The transition from childhood to young adulthood in the four years of high school is intense and often messy.  Our adolescents make plenty of mistakes, big and small, along the way, and these are all opportunities for learning, for growth, and for character development.  So we pray for our students, we stand with them and we walk with them.  The joy for us as teachers, as for parents, is to be participants in and witnesses of this growth, and to be co-labourers with the Spirit as he works in them.  It’s important for us (parents and teachers) to remember though, that we do not control the growth: we sow and we water, but it is God who makes things grow (see 1 Corinthians 3:6-7).



Duncan Todd