The 12% who made the cut as children of character didn't manifest these "deadly syndromes":
* they did not drink, or smoke cigarettes or marijuana;These "family behaviors and expectations" were common to the 12%:
* they were not depressed, mean, spoiled, or self-centered;
* they did not suffer from eating problems;
* they said it was wrong for thirteen year olds to have sex; and
* they worked to their intellectual potential in school without being overly driven.
* their families frequently ate dinner together;Since that leaves a decisive majority of 88%, it's likely that few children or parents will read those lists without feeling judged, and perhaps inclined to say that there are some things, especially clinical depression, which are beyond the reach of values education. Kindlon's point is not to stigmatize children but inspire parents. The hard and hopeful truth he has revealed is that the grownup outlook and behavior manifested in the last four points tend to give kids the advantages of the first five.
* their parents were not divorced or separated;
* they had to keep their rooms clean;
* they did not have a phone in their room; and
* they did community service.
Hat tip to the Newsletter of the National Assn. of Episcopal Schools