Forging character is like like forging steel. Both take hard work and pressure.

Forging Character The Conscience of Society

Forging Character

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Where do start? What is character? Why do we care?  We will explore the answers below. But first, I want to ask, do you have any stories to share about character? How has good character helped you or how has bad character hurt you? It could be your personal experience or one that you observed.

Where do we start?

I like to start by looking at my character. Are the aspects of that I want or need to change? Do I lie? Do I follow through? Am I trustworthy? I try to spend some time thinking (or mediating) about where I am and where I want to be. Do I have any character traits that are impeding my work or other parts of my life. If there are, then these get addressed first. There are programs that teach character education. These are good for laying a groundwork to talk about character, but true character is not learned from a book.

What is character?

When forging character gratitude is important Qutoe by Cicero

When forging character gratitude is important

Forging character occurs in every decision and action that we make. Character is that part of us that helps do the right thing even when it is inconvenient or uncomfortable. There is no simple definition of character. Even the major dictionaries do not agree on a precise definition. We all have an idea of what good character is and what makes up bad character too. Getting to a common agreement on what it means is not simple. If we generally state that character is the sum of our life experiences that shapes how we respond to situations around us, that might do. Being gracious is part of it. Honesty and integrity are too. What do you think? What do you think it takes in forging character?

Why do we care?

Character is important. Why? Well for one reason, my grandparents and parents taught me that it is important. For another, society, expects that we behave within some framework that constrains our behavior to that which is acceptable to others.  Forging character helps us be good people. People that help, People that give back to society. People that help influence and mold those around them be better individuals. The only way we can make the world better, is by making ourselves better. Emerson said,, “Men of character are the conscience of the society in which they live.” Are you a good conscience to people around you?

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7 thoughts on “Forging Character The Conscience of Society

  1. Vatsala Shukla

    A thought provoking post, Shawn. I remember when I was a teenager, my parents used to grill it into me that building my character was the one thing I should focus on as it would last me a lifetime. I’m glad they did, it has helped me in later years to be known for all the right qualities that even my competitors acknowledge.

    1. shawngriffith Post author

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts Vatsala. It would be nice if more parents focused on the character of their children, rather than trying to give them everything.

  2. Beverley Golden

    For me character is who you are and what you stand for in your life. Integrity, honesty and compassion and peace are key cornerstones for me. I imagine these developed over time and certainly these were not as important to me when I was young as they are now. I would say, I might have been less honesty, always having a way to “manipulate” the situation without hurting others. As we continue on our spiritual journey and do the work, we discover things about ourselves that do require us to change. Living an authentic life from a place of inner power is what interests me most now. And we are humans, meaning the journey and the work continue on as long as we are alive.

    1. shawngriffith Post author

      Hi Beverly, thanks for dropping by and sharing your thoughts. I agree that character and life are most definitely a journey. We all have areas where we have stumbled and bruised our character along the way. I believe that being able to give back and help others is a big part of my journey. So many people helped to shape who and what I am, that I doubt I could name them all, let alone repay them. My goal is to try and pay it forward when ever possible.

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