Family Tiez

Building Character

Much is said about character. Most of us would define ourselves as individuals of good character.

Character is the combination of qualities that distinguish you as an individual. The mixture of thoughts, words and actions you express determine who you are. Your character has an impact not only on you, but also on the world around you. Having good character is unique as a person. A person of good character is defined by what they do, not what they say or profess, but it is more than just doing the right things in life.

Being a person of character means living by a set of standards to do what is right, rather than what is easy. People of good character do what is right by practicing values such as caring, citizenship, honesty, respect, trustworthiness and responsibility. But you’ll witness so many examples of those doing good things, and falling far short of someone you know as having good character.

Don’t be fooled between character and an act. Someone of good character will demonstrate kindness to everyone, not just those they stand to gain something from. Those who are truly moral will try to recognize their own shortcomings, feel remorse for causing pain, and they will try to make it right. They will not only watch their actions, but also their intent. It isn’t so much how much a person knows how to do, but how they behave when they don’t know what to do. Individuals having good character are more concerned with doing the right thing than they are with their reputation, because their character is what they really are, while their reputation is merely what others think they are.

What I hope for my family, and what God wants from us, is not just outward physical compliance but also inward spiritual commitment (the very definition of true love). He wants not just our acts but our hearts, minds, and souls. And if we don’t give those to Him, eventually things will go wrong, as the experiences of many demonstrate.

In one sense, what separates one person from another is not so much their outward actions – although at critical times there are significant and telling differences in their actions, but rather their inward attitude, which eventually becomes part of their character. Much of what we observe in others who do the major things asked of them, but they do so reluctantly; mumbling, grumbling, complaining, murmuring about why they don’t get the credit for whatever they have and how others always fall short. And the primary reasons is that they don’t understand their true purpose or how they complete the whole of things in life.

There it is: the root cause. Those who go through life, one spoonful of upset every day to begin their day, because they don’t understand God’s plan for them. They don’t see the big picture. They don’t see—or they forget—that there is a larger purpose and broader reason for doing the things they are being asked to do. And when we don’t understand the bigger picture—the reasons behind the things we are asked to do—any sacrifice is too great, any difficulty is too burdensome, and any inconvenience is a reason to complain, and we can soon end up a spoonful of joy short of good character.

Character is the aim of true education; and ­science, history, and literature are but means used to accomplish this desired end. There is no position in life having justification for its existence unless it builds character, creates and develops faith, and makes men and women of strength and courage, fortitude, and service—men and women who will become stalwarts in their eternity. Character is not justified on achievement or position or academic basis only.