“Work is love made visible”, Kahil Gilbran
So, what determines character? Is it due to the environment you live in day to day, your parents as a role model, or is it a culmination of your life experience? I think it is the culmination of your life’s experience. I say this because I know many individuals who come from challenging environments or from a dysfunctional household and become people of great character.
It is my belief, contrary to what you hear daily via our “unbiased” media and their hyperbole about the decline of our national character, the character of the individual is still intact. In fact, I think our individual character is growing stronger.
Case in point: several weeks ago I came across an article about a young man in the suburbs of Detroit. Now, I know many of you are familiar with the story of Sean and Leigh Anne Tuhoy. If not, let’s take a quick minute to review. The Tuhoy family, of Memphis, TN, adopted a young homeless boy by the name of Michael Oher who went on to become a starting player in the National Football League. If you’re still not familiar with the story, all you have to do is watch the movie “Blind Side”. This wonderful story has now been repeated in Detroit, and it involves a young homeless boy by the name of Angelo Whittis. Angelo, a sophomore in high school, had been reduced to asking friends if he could sleep in their cars. With a grade point average at 1.5, he was going downhill fast and socializing with people who would willingly take him down a dark path. Angelo thought about changing high school, so he ventured over to rival River Rogue High School where he met Coach Corey Parker. Parker, River Rogue’s football coach, immediately took an interest in Angelo. After finding out about Angelo’s circumstance and many deep discussions with his wife, Parker’s family adopted Angelo. Now with family support Angelo is soaring. As a junior, his grade point average rose to 3.7, he became the star quarterback of River Rogue and led them to their first state championship. He is even talking about going to college. If not for the care and character of the Parker family, another child would have been lost.
The care and character of these couples is why I maintain that individual character is alive and well.
Let’s go back now to the discussion of character and its attributes. The following are excerpts from the book “Making Ethical Decisions”, authored by Michael Josephson.
Be honest, don’t deceive, cheat, or steal. Be reliable – do what you say you are going to do. Have the courage to do the right thing. Build and keep a good reputation. Be loyal and stand by your family, friends and country.
Treat everyone with respect. Be tolerant and accepting of our differences. Always use good manners. eliminate foul language. Be considerate of the feelings of others. Don’t threaten anyone. Deal peacefully with anger, insults and disagreements.
Do what you are supposed to do. Plan ahead. Persevere–never stop trying. Do your absolute best. Use self-control. Use self-discipline. Think before you act – train your tongue. Be accountable for your words. action and attitude. Be an example to others.
Be open minded. LISTEN to others. Do not take advantage of other people. Don’t blame anyone carelessly and treat everyone fairly.
Be compassionate. Express gratitude. Forgive and help all in need.
Strive to make your community better. Get involved. Stay informed. Vote. Respect authority and volunteer wherever you can.
I think these six attributes form a very solid basis for character and I am sure everyone you know has one or more of the above characteristics. The idea however is to really work on all six and make them your core.
I would like to leave you with one last thought during this Christmas season. For those who are struggling there is one gift you can give that does not cost you or anyone else anything. Give yourself the gift of “honor”. This something free that will endure the test of time.
More to come…..