In light of the recent untimely deaths, criminal activity in our community and the tragedy in the Connecticut elementary school, my 2013 New Year’s Resolution is to take the lead in making our community a safer and more secure place to live. I want to begin by promoting character development in our children.
At some point parents think about the kind of person their child will grow up to be. This is different from what they may do for a living. This involves issues of integrity, honesty and caring for others. Will your child grow up to have good character? The answer to the question can be determined by examining your behavior as a parent from very early on. As we teach our children how to act in our presence, we provide powerful lessons that will set the tone for what kind of adults our children will turn out to be. Two key ingredients can go a long way in influencing our children to have good character. We can help them understand they must take responsibility for their actions. Also, we can help them participate in doing good deeds.
Our children do not automatically develop good character. A conscious effort must be made to help young people become honest, responsible and caring adults. Talk to your children about how they feel if someone is mean to them, or is not honest with them. Emphasize the importance of being honest, following rules, always keeping a promise, practicing good manners and never taking things that don’t belong to us.
We can make a difference. We can improve the attitudes of our children. Our children look to us to learn how they are supposed to act. We are not always aware that young people are watching and possibly imitating us. The amount of influence we have on others can be tremendous.
Your character is defined by what you do, not what you say or believe. Every choice you make helps define the kind of person you are choosing to be. Good character requires doing the right thing, even when it is costly or risky. You don’t have to take the worst behavior of others as a standard of comparison for yourself. You can choose to be better. I have recently begun a practice of attempting to be better than myself. Think about that. It is hard to do. You should always try to improve. What you do matters, and one person can make a big difference. The payoff for having good character is that it makes you a better person and it makes the world a better place.
Having good character doesn’t happen by chance. Parental behavior that encourages children to take responsibility for their actions, correct situations and practice good deeds can help assure our children grow up to have good character. We will never completely eliminate every threat to ourselves or our loved ones. But more people with good character traits will make our community more safe and secure.