In general character is taught, not embedded within us. Yes, one might be naturally compassionate, but true character is taught. Teaching character is done successfully when taught by the most influential people in a child’s life. When teaching character, it is vital to start as early as possible. It has been noted by adopted and foster parents that if a child has already learned poor character traits it is close to impossible to turn in a full 180 degrees.
Parents have a huge responsibility and by their actions can help or damage a child. Teaching character by example is the most effective way to teach properly. For example, a child witnesses his/her parent stealing, that child will think that stealing is no big deal. Children are sponges from a very early age and will do what they see being done. If mom lies a lot, the child will most likely do the same. If good character traits are not taught at a very young age, they will not likely learn them as a young adult. Parents must make teaching character to their children a priority. If a child ditches school, or disrespects an authority figure, this must be dealt with promptly.
Teachers and coaches undertake this task as well. Every good teacher or coach will have their own unique way of teaching character to their students or players. Coaches teach good sportsmanship and teachers teach responsibility, among many other things of course.
Anyone who possesses character can influence young people. Those who have good traits will often do well in life and are looked up to. They can inspire a young child without even knowing it. One must have character to teach character. You cannot teach something that you yourself do not possess. For example, how is a parent going to teach a child to read if they cannot read themselves?
All too often in today’s society, it is so much easier to take the easy way out of situations, rather than to stay and face the heat, so to speak. Character takes strength and discipline. Opinions what determines character vary, but for the most part appreciation, compassion, consideration, dependability, honesty, responsibility, and truthfulness are among those that are widely agreed upon. This is but a short list of what determines character.
The actual definition of character varies greatly, depending on the country, the religion, and the times.
One really good organization that teaches character is the military. This is one of the rare times that young adults can be taught character, even if it was not a priority during their childhood. The military teaches honor, responsibility, dependability, self-esteem, and so many other things.
It’s never too late to work on improving your character. There are ways to self evaluate and determine what you would like to work on. If you feel that you have some character traits that you could improve upon then you can work on them. If you do have children, you will be able to be a stronger role model for them if you improve weak character traits within yourself.