Character = Who we are when no one is watching. Hopefully it’s good character!
“Good character is not formed in a week or a month.
It is created little by little, day by day.”
Social and News media is filled with scathing reports detailing the faults of individuals in all walks of life. No person is born with all these character deficits. Negative character qualities develop one at a time, day by day, just like as good qualities.
Do you relate? I’m sure you have a few character qualities you’d like people to overlook, just as I do… right? However, with this attitude, we might be adding to the problem, rather than improving it. Chicken or egg?
Is this good character just supposed to show up…?
If we are the only ones who can change ourselves, how much time and effort do we put into developing our own good character? And by acting and reacting, demonstrating a good character, how could we impact the world around us for good?
Developing Good Character
Perhaps I’m going out on a limb here – assuming the development of good character is important to you… <grin>
Parents care about the character of their children – but where do children first see examples of how to be? From their parents and caregivers, of course.
Perhaps it’s in our best interest to care about developing our own good character if we are invested in how the world around us behaves, rather than merely joining in on the criticism-fest.
Easier said than done? Maybe. Maybe not!
7 ways we could focus on developing good character:
- PEOPLE: surrounding ourselves with people who demonstrate good character – it’s said we are the sum of those we spend time with.
- READING: reading to develop our character – our brain needs sustenance, what are we feeding it?
- WATCHING: being discerning in what we watch – oh, yes. TV – Movies – YouTube – streaming <sigh>
- BOUNDARIES: setting boundaries in our life to manage areas where our character might be tempted or swayed. We are all susceptible.
- DECISIONS: making decisions with deliberate care and consideration, not on a whim or in the middle of intense emotion.
- HABITS: designing our habits to support our good character development. Habits. It’s the small things that make up the great things.
- GREATER THAN OURSELF: following a higher ideal. The belief and adherence to something greater than our self will make a difference even when we fail. Rob and I are Christ followers and often speak of the Fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) as a barometer of our character.
Have I overlooked something? Would you add anything to this list? (Leave a comment to share, please! What has worked for you when you’ve been focused on character development?)
Resources to develop a good character.
Have you read any books which impacted your character? I’m thinking of classics such as Robert McGee’s “The Search for Significance: Seeing Your True Worth Through God’s Eyes”, and Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search For Meaning” or even C.S. Lewis’ “The Screwtape Letters“…
When we homeschooled our children we used “The Book of Virtues” by William J. Bennett.
This book is a collection of stories and fables on virtues – character qualities. These moral stories provided the opportunity to ask questions and discuss ideas in areas like friendship, courage, honesty, compassion, and responsibility. Rob and I found some of the stories quite challenging and personally convicting. I’m looking forward to getting that book out of storage!
Another book I’ve been researching is called “What Do You Stand For? For Teens: A Guide to Building Character”. It has a teen version and a child version, along with the option of a game. If you don’t have teens in your home right now, the lists and questionnaires would still be good exercises to go through as an adult. What we need to learn isn’t defined by age.
And finally, here’s a one-page checklist to download as a reminder to focus on your character – it’s the above 7 points as questions to ask yourself. Post it on your bathroom mirror for a bit, and see if it sparks something positive. No email needed, click HERE to download.
Have your children been introduced to character building resources in school? Perhaps you’re a teacher… do you have any recommendations? Please leave a comment!
“Men of character are the conscience of the society to which they belong.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Plant kindness. What grows from being kind to others is beautiful and nourishing.
Kind or Critical?
In case you were wondering, criticism is not kind. Criticism is like a poisonous weed.
I’m imagining criticism – that deliberate judgment of others – is like hogweed. Hogweed’s sap burns and scars.
If you try and mow or weed-whack a hogweed plant, it’ll just send up new growth. Isn’t that exactly like being judgmental? Start criticizing one action or aspect of a person’s character, and you’ll quickly find other points to criticize… And hogweed might appear to be Queen Anne’s Lace or Angelica, just like criticism can be disguised as helpful advice, but it’s not. Get involved in criticism and it’ll burn. And scar. You.
Plant a Garden of Kindness
Now, imagine a garden filled with beautiful flowers, fruit, and vegetables. It’s nourishing for the soul and body.
That’s just like kindness – when we watch others be kind, isn’t it a joy to behold? When we, ourselves, are beneficiaries of a kindness, isn’t it nourishing to every part of our life? And, when we are the authors of an act of kindness, isn’t it something we rejoice over with the other person?
Make this a day to sow seeds of kindness.
(Toss those critical thoughts/words on the burn pile!)
If you need some ideas on how to be kind read this – 25 Ideas – How to be kind for no reason.
How will you be kind today?
Come on back tomorrow for more benefits that flow from positivity!
Click to read more on all these benefits!
Kindness includes looking for what is good in other people.
Stop being critical of others – criticism steals your joy.
Instead, look for what is GOOD in those you meet, work and serve with, because a little bit of kind consideration makes life sweet.
Love those around you.
If you judge people, you have no time to love them.
~ Mother Teresa
Love does not judge.
Judgemental = having or displaying an excessively critical point of view.
Many times I feel judging and criticising are kin to each other.
Criticism = the expression of disapproval of someone or something based on perceived faults or mistakes.
What do you think?
“Do not judge other people. Then you will not be judged. You will be judged in the same way you judge others. You will be measured in the same way you measure others. You look at the bit of sawdust in your friend’s eye. But you pay no attention to the piece of wood in your own eye.”
Matthew 7:1-3 NIRV
“Love isn’t a state of perfect caring.
It is an active noun, like “struggle”.
To love someone is to strive to accept that person
exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.”
~ Fred Rogers quote
No one is perfect. Not even you or me… and yet we are all loved, and can love.
Love is a gift. Pass it on…
Who will you actively love today?
(Even if it’s a struggle, how can you demonstrate you accept her or him exactly as they are? See below for 5 ideas. )
5 Ways to Show Love is an Active Noun
Let’s put some sweat equity into loving someone… show you love her or him exactly the way they are, right now and here.
- Communicate. Talk, text, or write. Use a sticky note on the bathroom mirror.
- Touch. A hug, handclasp, fist bump, shoulder rub, footsies, sideways nudge shoulder-to-shoulder, and if they’re your child, parent or spouse, you’ll know from experience what touch is most appreciated.
- Time. Yes, time. That precious commodity you say you don’t have enough of… take the time to invest in that someone. Do something that person values – together. Hint: it’s probably not watching TV.
- A Gift. No need for huge investments. What is that someone you are seeking to love missing in their life? What will bring a smile to their face? Buy/find that and give it to her or him. Think of something simple, but make the presentation of that simple thing spectacular. (Who doesn’t have fun opening a big box, to find a smaller box and opening that one to find an even smaller one…?) Remember, It’s the “air” in the balloon that makes the balloon special!
- Serve. What chore or activity, if done by you, will make a difference in that person’s life? Make a meal, vacuum, clean up, organize, shovel, dust, fill the car with gas, sweep, or take out the garbage. Take action to demonstrate that love is an active noun.
These ideas are from a special book by a fellow we admire, Dr. Gary Chapman. His books are classic, and the simple ideas can be put into practice for anyone.
His premise is that one of these five actions will resonate the most – it’s like the primary language of love that you speak. The key is to find the action that the other person translates as “speaking love”.
I suggest you try all five as you lean into loving that someone.
Love is an active noun. DO love.
Here are the links for the books by Gary Chapman about the Love Languages. He’s covered all kinds of relationships: couples, singles, children, teens, and men. If you’re curious what your own “love language” is, then go to his website and complete a quick survey.
These books are affiliate links – should you click and purchase, I will receive a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you for supporting PositiveThanksLiving.
Here’s an infographic created by
Give thanks for all the areas where you’re on the “inside”. Now, invite someone else inside also!
“On the inside.”
What does this term mean to you? It’s probably not about being indoor or outdoor… rather it’s a carry-over from our days in a school or institution.
When Rob and I stopped into a Christian bookstore, one book I leafed through was called, “We Saved You a Seat – Bible Study Book: Finding and Keeping Lasting Friendships” by Lisa-Jo Baker. One of the many statements that stood out to me was about being dissatisfied where we are…
“The thing we don’t realize in highschool, and sometimes we still haven’t learned during the mini-van driving years, is that everyone is on the outside of something.
But that is only half the story.
We are all, each one of us, also on the inside of something
— often without even realizing it.”
Think of the relationships you have with people.
Are you thankful for those you are already connected to?
Maybe if we stop comparing ourselves
in our perceived “in” or “out” spot,
and began giving thanks,
inviting and encouraging others to join us,
our lives would hold more joy…
That’s my thought… what does this bring up in you?
Some of us might find making new friends easy. Some of us might feel daunted.
I’m guessing we might share some discouragement from the past – being or not being part of a group for !oh! so many reasons. Is it time to leave that discomfort behind?
We are all adults now.
Being candid, that’s one reason I picked up the book from where today’s Positivity Prompt originates. Friendship amongst women has its ups and downs. It shouldn’t. But it does.
We all need to practice forgiveness, overlooking hurts, and serving each other.
And where some believe this topic is only for teens, consider again. If you’ve ever moved to a new city/state and began forging friendships anew, you might be revisiting some of the issues you felt when you were a teen.
Friendship… making friends and feeling on the “inside/outside” can be difficult.
So be encouraging, and invite a new person into your “inside” friendships… start today!
Who will you reach out to and invite “inside”?
And for whom will you give thanks that you’re already on the “inside”?
If you’re interested, here’s the book – the link is an affiliate link.