Parents and their children begin to think about school supplies this time of year. There are pens, pencils, crayons, paper, notebooks, shoes, slacks and shirts to purchase for the new school year.

All of the supplies listed above are good, but there are even more important supplies to think about. These supplies are character related.

The first character-related supply is do that which is right.

Robert E. Lee said, “You have only always to do what is right.”

Albert Einstein noted, “Relativity applies to physics, not ethics.”

Do that which is right. It sounds easy, but doing the right thing is not always easy. In a letter written nearly 2,000 years ago, the author encourages his readers to “... not grow weary while doing good.”     

Even two millennia ago, words of encouragement were a necessary reminder to do the right thing.

The second character-related supply is respect.

Respect is a way of treating people in an appropriate manner. It is not a feeling, but a matter of principle. It does not depend upon the circumstance. Again, it is a matter of principle. As a matter of principle, I will treat my classmates and teacher(s) in appropriate ways at all times.

Treating people with respect is not a feeling, but it does leave a special feeling. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel,” (Maya Angelou).

If I were creating a school supply list for things students should bring to school, it would include doing the right thing and respect.

My hope is that the 2012-13 school year is a very special time for you.     

Dr. Jerome Stewart serves as the superintendent for the Midlothian Independent School District.