As mentioned in the Foreword, our mission has been to develop a curriculum to teach children good decision-making skills. I hope the contents of this document provided an adequate view of the nature of the lessons and corresponding teaching theory and materials that comprise the LifeGoals Critical Thinking Skills curriculum.

It is our hope that this overview can serve as an introductory primer for teachers, to be followed by grade-specific lessons for use in their classrooms. The teaching skills required by LifeGoals are new concepts that must be developed and continually practiced. The Socratic method of questioning, without traditional "right" and "wrong" judgments, takes time to master. However, the primary goal of this Critical Thinking Skills curriculum is to teach the process of decision-making. And this method of questioning, engaging children and forcing them to think for themselves, produces the best results. Each of our children is a decision-maker and must be trained to be the best they can be. For, it is their destiny and our destiny as a society that is at stake.

Will this curriculum build character? Yes. Why? Because the prerequisite to character is thinking through what ought to be done or acted upon. Being able to think through options provides the decision framework that, when linked to goals and higher-order driving forces taught by parents and responsible others, prepares our children to face their world and their future on a daily basis.

Making these decision skills part of everyday life for our children is to do them an immense service: one that will pay dividends for the rest of their lives. Additionally, encoding these decision-making skills in our children enables them to teach their children, which can be the beginning of creating positive change in our society.

For those parents interested in values or virtues, their beliefs can be imbedded in the system and serve as these key definers of decision-making. The net result will be character; the character of our young people, and the character of our country.

This Critical Thinking Skills approach addresses one other societal need, namely, the ability in our children to recognize character in those individuals that surround them, including adult leaders. By giving our children the skills to assess the decision-making of others, we give them the basis to judge who should be their role models and leaders, and, perhaps more importantly, who should not be.

Future directions of LifeGoals include expanding the curriculum to secondary education, specifically in the areas of literature and history. In these academic areas, sub modules applying decision-making concepts to understanding the "why?" of choice by characters or historical figures can be used to augment, in an exciting way, current curricula. Also planned is a direct extension to an ethics curriculum, which would represent a new course for secondary education. The basis of the course would be decision-making situations, extending the GOOD Decision Model from "enlightened self-interest" to the ethics grounding of the "greater good to society."

The two fundamental beliefs shared by my colleagues are: [1] decision-making is a critically important skill, especially with regard to our children, that can be greatly improved upon by learning and practicing the LifeGoals GOOD Decision Model, and, [2] our society, as a whole, will be a much better place if we can prepare future generations to think clearly before they make decisions.