Riddle: What is the one thing that is yours, the one thing you would still have even if you lost everything?

Answer: Your character!

301-800The dictionary describes character as:
The combination of qualities that makes you different from someone else.

  • Moral and ethical strength
  • Integrity
  • Reputation

If you were to describe your character, what would you say? Are you happy with what you see as your character? If not, know that character can change!

Did You Know? You are not born with character! Character is learned.

You may be familiar with the following popular poster, authored by Dorothy Law Nolte, PhD:

Children Learn What They Live

  • If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
  • If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
  • If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
  • If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
  • If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
  • If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
  • If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
  • If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
  • If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
  • If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
  • If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
  • If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
  • If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
  • If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
  • If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
  • If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
  • If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
  • If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
  • If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

(For a free printout of this poster, go to www.empowermentresources.com” )

As you can see, character is learned behavior.

It is acting upon what you have learned. If you have never been respected, it is hard to give respect to another. If you have lived without ethical values, it will be very difficult to figure out right from wrong in the various situations you will face in life.

The increase of illegal drug usage among people your age, the violent crimes being committed, even the stealing of relatively inexpensive items from stores is a reflection on what has been taught by the previous generation around you! This is true for behavior, attitude, morals, and lifestyle choices. You live as you have been taught.

Character is important. You are known by your character. Your character judges you.

 Strong moral character includes the following:

  • Compassion
  • Kindness
  • Integrity
  • Taking responsibility for your actions
  • Being a good friend
  • Honesty
  • Respect
  • Fairness
  • Seeing others as people of worth

If you are ready to grow in character, here are some Character Builders to work on that will make you emotionally strong:

  • Treat everyone with respect-as you would want to be treated.
  • Remember that you are not a helpless victim of your background experiences. You do not have to stay in unhealthy relationships. You can begin to make better choices; you can become a better person.
  • You can listen to what the media has to say, but you can do your own research to see if it is true. Television programs do not always show the reality of future consequences of people’s choices.
  • You can learn to stand up for yourself. Listen to your stomach, not just your head. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it.
  • Respect your self in all situations. Keep your sense of dignity. If you can’t feel good about yourself in certain situations, don’t continue in these activities, or don’t feel you have to hang with certain people. Bottom line: You have to like and respect yourself.
  • Avoid the emotional hurts to yourself and to others that come from premature sexual activity. These hurts can last for a lifetime!
  • Develop good school and work ethics that will bring you success in any job or future career.
  • Determine the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships.
  • Learn how to be part of a solution, not part of the problem.
  • Learn kindness through helping others.
  • Keep the promises you make to others. Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
  • Remember that everything you do can have immediate consequences or future consequences. You are free to make any legal choice you want in any situation, but you need to remember that you cannot choose the consequences of those choices. Your choices will make you.
  • Know whom you can trust and what situations are trustworthy. Avoid people and situations that are questionable.
  • Learn from your mistakes…your mistakes can grow your character too—if you learn from them and change your course when you need to do so!