May 14     

Today's quotation:

Character cannot be counterfeited, nor can it be put on and cast off as if it were a garment to fit the whim of the moment.  Day by day we become what we do.  This is the supreme law and logic of life.

Chiang Kai-shek

Today's Meditation:

Many people don't seem to give much thought to the character that they display to the world.  They think much more about image-- the clothes that they wear, the way their hair is cut, the witty things that they say.  They're much more concerned about what other people think about them than they are about who and what they are as human beings.  But how will we ever grow to be better humans if we don't pay attention to just who we are right now?

Many of us live in societies in which image seems to be everything, so it's quite easy to get caught up in the struggle to create and maintain image as a strategy to "get ahead" in the world.  Our cultures also tell us that it's important to possess things, so much of what we do is done in order to be able to get more and better things.  But what if life is really about developing our selves so that we can be stronger, wiser, smarter people who are able to contribute in positive ways to the lives of others?  If that's the case, image and possessions mean very little if not accompanied by character.

Whom do people see when they look at your character?  Do they see someone who is focused on gain and impression, or someone who is willing to work harder just to make sure a job is done well?  Do they see someone who is willing to put down others to make themselves look better, or do they see someone who is compassionate and understanding?  Do they see someone they can trust unconditionally with anything, or do they see someone who makes them feel uncomfortable and untrusting?

I don't believe that we're on this planet to win popularity contests.  As a teacher, I would rather my students dislike me, but learn a lot, than to be the most popular teacher ever while my students aren't learning what they need to learn.  As a parent I'd rather pass on life lessons that are lasting than to be my children's best buddy.  Who I truly am in my depths is completely up to me, and I hope to build my character in positive ways that will allow me to be a positive influence on others who just may need such an influence.

Questions to consider:

How would you define your character?  Does it match what you would like it to be?

Why do most of us not focus on developing our character?

How can we develop our character?  What steps would we have to take to do so?

For further thought:

Many people build character as cathedrals were built, the part nearest the ground finished; but that part which soars toward heaven, the turrets and the spires, forever incomplete.

Henry W. Beecher

more on character



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