The Character Movement


How do you add to your character?

This post was written by Virginia “Ginny” Clark, who is a retired school administrator. Ginny has been involved with Youth Frontiers for 15 years and helped YF develop our retreat follow-up materials. She is now in her fourth year on the Youth Frontiers Board of Directors.

I always consider the first three months of a new year to be the dawning of all that is possible. I feel like time flies by; yet, each new year gives me pause to reflect, revise and renew… just as the sunrise reminds us of the power and the beauty of a new day.

Each day, each month, each year, I know I have the opportunity to make a difference. I feel like I make a difference in my volunteer work. I make a difference by having a positive attitude as I sit in traffic, stand in line at the grocery store, meet people on the street with a smile and a greeting, etc. Having an optimistic, positive approach to life is part of my character. I think people who know me would concur.

Character is difficult to define, to wrap our arms around; yet, we seem to notice character when we observe it. Part of the dictionary definition states it “is the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual; the distinctive nature of something; the quality of being individual, typically in an interesting or unusual way; strength and originality in a person’s nature; a person’s good reputation.”

Youth Frontiers’ building blocks assist students and staff in making positive choices about their character by concentrating on these themes: kindness, courage, respect, leadership, wisdom, honor, mindfulness and purpose. A challenge for me each day, each month, each year is to include these building blocks or cornerstones into my being. Yes, it is a deliberate choice. These building blocks have and will continue to give me reflection “food-for-thought.” They continue to remind me that I’m not finished evolving yet.

I would be interested to know, if you choose to respond to this blog post, how do you continue to add to your character? Are you a student trying to do what’s right rather than popular if it goes against your character? Are you an adult wrestling with some of the same issues? Are you a teacher or administrator who keeps character at the forefront? How are you doing that? What comes naturally about that? What are some of the obstacles you face?

As adults who interact with children and young adults, we have the responsibility to walk the talk. We automatically become mentors whether it’s on purpose or not. Our character exudes all over the place. What is your character exhibiting these days?

May the sunrise each day remind us to move into the day with the mental and moral qualities distinctive to us.

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