What is character?
When a President of the most powerful nation in the world had to leave office without being impeached, without an election, it speaks much more of nothing else, but of his questionable character and the great demands of his office.
When a leading presidential candidate had to withdraw abruptly from the race, even before the battle lines were fully drawn, such a move is closely hinged on the tainted character of the candidate, as well as the impeccable standard of the office he was seeking.
Whether you stand out under the brazen sunshine, or before the radiance of the bright light, or go ye into the darkness of the night, your character is what you are.
Fame is what you have taken,
Character’s what you give;
When to this truth you waken,
Then you begin to live. (Bayard Taylor, Improvisations).
As humans, we are identified by one trait or another. Whether good or bad, these traits are the features or characteristics of the person, the embodiment of those traits is called character. The character of a man or woman is made up his or her traits. Such traits include, not exclusively:
Our character send signals to people around us about the kind of person we are.
Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship, rank among the most common sought traits that easily tells of the nature of a person. The more of these positive traits we manifest in our lives, the more people believe in us, and accept us for who we are.
We need good character to be well accepted in the society. The character in the person supersedes everything else about the person; it declares the integrity and self-worth of that individual. Our character emboldens and strengthens the energy of our will to seek to attain that which we hope for in life.
Where character comes from
The genes determine and form the man, while the environment shapes the person. The genetic tendencies of our parents go a long way through the genes transferred into us to determine our natural tendencies. This is nature at work. However, the environments in which we are brought up, where we grow up, school and work, also has its vital impact upon us, and go a long way to decide the kind of person we eventually turned out to be in life. In-between the operations of nature and nurture are the development of the traits of the man, which go ahead to determine or form his character, and his personality.
According to Jeanne Piaget’s presentations in child psychology, children are species that had been given their respective genetic characteristic minds or mindsets. This occurs in stages of Sensorimotor, Preoperational, Concrete Operations, Abstract Thoughts, and Deductive Thoughts. Intrigued by children’s thinking aspects and patterns, Piaget became more focused on moral development. Moral development is hinged on character.
We are able to understand, through the works of Jeanne Piaget, that nature and nurture actually work together in the individual to bring forth his eventual development. The active interaction of the mind of the child on the activities of his surrounding environment interacts and produces a resultant effect on that child. He “assimilates predicted experiences and accommodates it to unexpected experiences.” While we have the genetic tendencies as our inner guide, the environment remains largely a big influence on that genetic tendency, and shapes us a great deal, from where comes our character.
“Man uses that which he perceives to be unlike himself. But he searches for a common understanding and common harmony with that which he perceives to be like himself. The former perception leads to manipulation and authentic technology: the latter perception leads to understanding and authentic science.” (Hanna Thomas, Bodies in Revolt, 250). It is the strive to develop this authentic science that aid in the refinement of the character of man.
Why was it that Mary Magdalene tarried longer than the rest of the inner-circle disciples to be able to break the news of The Lord’s resurrection. Of all the Apostles, Paul, formerly Saul of Tarsus, did extraordinarily well for the gospel. This confirms that we could attain that which we desire and seek, if we do it with our entire mind, our heart, our soul, and spirit. This is the character of the winner. You need to build it.
An avowed felon was convicted of murder and robberies. As he awaits execution on death row, he found a Bible in his little room. After a long neglect, and with nothing really to do, he picked up the Bible and began to read. He read it over and over. Somehow, something happened, as he began to imbibe the new knowledge. He learned how to believe in the God of The Bible, a power bigger than the street gods and demons that ruled and reigned in his life began to manifest in him.
He learned how to trust and pray to Jesus Christ.
He confessed all his sins, felt sincere remorse for them, and prayed genuinely for forgiveness. He even willingly tried to reach unto those he had offended for repentance and forgiveness. The entire inmates and staff of the prison knew he had a character change, because he lived it, and practiced it, witnessing Christ to all that came his way. He was happy rejoicing on the day of execution, believing he would see The Christ in Eternity.
Our character is essentially made up of the Commandment we uphold, our Conscience, our Conversation, our Constitution, the Counsel we take and give, our Confessions, and our Courage. Have you checked your character lately? Quite advisable you do, and improve on it.