Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Elkhart elementary schools use Cowboy Ethics to teach good values


The Code of the West is not just for cowboys.

Fifth-graders at Mary Beck Elementary and the Roosevelt STEAM Academy are also learning to act like cowboys by basing their actions on principles like courage, pride and fairness.

It’s a program called Cowboy Ethics that was introduced at Beck in 2014 and expanded to Roosevelt this year.

The program’s director, Dwight Moudy, stumbled across the idea in James P. Owen’s book, “Cowboy Ethics: What Wall Street Can Learn from the Code of the West.”

The author is a 35-year veteran of Wall Street who became disillusioned by the way business was being conducted, with financial crises like the Enron scandal making headlines.

“But imagine what could happen if Wall Street firms looked back to a simpler time, when a handshake was enough to seal a deal and right and wrong were as clear as black and white,” Owen writes.

Moudy was struck by that idea, and thought about how it could be applied in the classroom.

“These kids are looking for principles, they’re looking for some guidance in their life,” he said.

He teamed up with his daughter, Beck fifth-grade teacher Suzanne Holcomb, to create a curriculum for the program.

“They’re learning about values and ethics without knowing it,” Holcomb said. “It’s not that the parents don’t try, because I think they do, but we need to give them that support here.”

Each week, the students receive a visit from Moudy and other cowboy volunteers to go over the 10 main principles:
  1. Live each day with courage
  2. Take pride in your work
  3. Always finish what you start
  4. Do what has to be done
  5. Be tough, but fair
  6. When you make a promise, keep it
  7. Ride for the brand
  8. Talk less and say more
  9. Remember that some things aren’t for sale
  10. Know where to draw the line
On Monday, March 23, the students competed in a “cattle drive.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow. Very simple and to the point. A great life's lesson, one I hope was introduced to them first in the family before the school.