Character — One Community’s View

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Having character, being a character, developing character, character education … it goes on and on. The confusion that is. And, in a life and a world in which, it seems, the presence of character may be make or break… there should be some considerable CLEAR thought on the subject. (And for those deeply into connectedness – how is character to be influenced –for good or ill — by the web?)

The following from Character Cincinnati (http://www.charactercincinnati.org/qualitieslisting.html)

  “It is the ultimate goal of all Character Ciaties to encourage and help every citizen be a person of good character.”
  The Character Council has developed the following principles to define our views on how to “grow” good character.
  1. Character is at its heart the composite of an individual’s character qualities.
  2. A character quality is a habit, a usual pattern or way of thinking, speaking or acting. Positive character habits include being enthusiastic, punctual, dependable, benevolent.
  3. Like any other habit, a good character quality can be developed (and an undesirable character quality eliminated) by repeatedly making decisions and taking actions that reinforce the pattern of good character qualities.
  4. Each person is responsible for his or her thoughts, words and behavior. While there may be many hereditary, environmental and training factors that have impacted a person’s development, he or she is still responsible for his or her own responses to these factors. And new habits can be developed by this individual—to do so remains his or her responsibility.
  5. A character quality may be developed and sustained by any one or any combination of motivations, or by default, but the motivation and the quality are not one in the same. For example, a group of students may all possess the quality of honor, vowing not to cheat on a test. But for some, this quality may be established from fear of consequences if caught, the burden of guilt or the loss of esteem that comes from knowing they broke their commitment, etc. Although each student’s motivation may differ from the other students, possession of the quality of honor will be viewed by each student as important for success.
  6. Every person is a person with character, a person having a composite of character qualities. A particular character quality may have developed by conscious choice or by neglect, but in all people usual ways of thinking, speaking and acting have developed. Thus a person may have qualities of tardiness, sloth, deception, etc., but they nonetheless remain components of the person’s character. The Character Council must encourage good character.
  7. Every person can be or become a person of good character. It is their choice. It is the ultimate goal of all the Character Cities to encourage and help every citizen become a person of good character.

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