I’m a firm believer that doing good feels good. Sure, being responsible and kind may not always be easy, but the warm glow and grounding peace you feel on the inside—it’s worth it. That’s why I create books and teaching resources that help people learn to make good choices for the right reasons.
Colleen Doyle Bryant is the author of five books and more than 50 learning resources about making good choices for the right reasons. Her Talking with Trees series for elementary students and Truth Be Told series for teens are used in curricula to teach good character traits and social emotional skills like honesty, respect, responsibility, and kindness. More than 100,000 of her good values resources are downloaded each year by parents and teachers around the world. Rooted in Decency, Colleen’s first book for an adult audience, considers why America’s divisive culture is damaging common decency, and how society can get to a shared set of values that promotes cooperation and trust. Colleen has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Duke University.
Colleen Doyle Bryant is available for commentary, interview, Q&As, and select byline opportunities. Media Info
I started the journey to writing books when my kids were little, and I noticed that parenting advice at the time seemed to focus on the wrong motivations. It was the age of self-esteem-based parenting, when parents, schools, and society in general protected children from ever feeling bad about themselves. Everyone was awesome and no one felt bad; but I came to realize, we’re supposed to feel bad sometimes. A conscience fills us with warm feelings when we’ve earned the right to be proud, and it nags us with guilt when we know we should've done better. Now, I’m not saying anyone should beat themselves up or wallow in their mistakes. But noticing how we affect other people and wanting to have a positive impact on them—that’s a core part of being a good human.
The Talking with Trees series was born from the experiences my kids had growing up, facing the real struggles of learning to cooperate, to be trustworthy, to be responsible, and to be kind even when their feelings were hurt. They didn’t just need to learn math and reading. They needed to learn how to be decent humans. Yet finding the words to teach children about complex moral ideas can be challenging, so the Talking Trees emerged as a way to share wisdom in a way children could understand and even enjoy.
As the kids matured, so did the challenges they faced. The teen years were a time of bridging between the idealism of youth and the sometimes harsh reality of getting ready to be an independent adult. The moral lessons changed, and so did what I wrote about. Truth Be Told Quotes is a collection of real life lessons my kids learned about how their choices had lasting consequences. The little quotes became part of our everyday conversations (and arguments) about how to be responsible for themselves and how their choices would shape the type of person they wanted to be out in the world.
The kids turned out great, by the way. I’m proud of all of four of them. Yet when I looked around at the society they were launching into in recent years, I found myself wondering why so many adults weren’t practicing the very lessons we had taught our kids about being honest, responsible, respectful, and compassionate. I got curious and started doing some research. As I discovered more and more intriguing bits of wisdom that shed new light on the challenges our entire society was facing, Rooted in Decency was born.
The theme that runs through all of what I create is that we each are creating ourselves, in all our small, everyday choices. We get to decide who we want to be and how we want to leave a mark. Most of us aren’t going to solve world hunger, but that doesn’t mean we don’t make a difference. Every small choice that is in line with the morals we all share as humans—truth, respect, responsibility, compassion—it creates goodness in the world, for ourselves and for other people. If you don’t like what you did five minutes ago, then it’s okay to change course. Each moment is a moment to choose anew and to add a new layer that shapes the type of person you want to be.
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