108. Character: Choose and Develop Qualities
Dr. Kathy starts out by mentioning what she spoke about two weeks ago about ministry, what was been done, and what is going to be done. She also mentioned starting out a series on character development last week. Last week Dr. Kathy talked about what character is all about, how it is developed and why it is important. Dr. Kathy also mentioned the importance of focusing on the things that matter and for her, those things are the things of the Lord. Character counts and it’s in our mind and soul and character marks us. Character comes from a Greek and Latin origin that refers to a stamping and engraving tool that sharpens and engraves. Character is your distinctive mark. Dr. Kathy talks about heading off to Alaska, how that would be the fiftieth state she is visiting and how character matters and it’s our reputation everywhere we go. Character shows up as we interact with people, and ideas and they are brick to brick foundations for a quality of life.
This episode answers the question of how we develop character. In one of her books (Five to Thrive) she characterizes character qualities according to the five core needs, we must meet and these include the need for security, identity, belonging, purpose, and competence. Each of these core needs could be associated with different character qualities. It is important for an adult, parent, or teacher to choose the qualities to emphasize. Character is practical so it’s important to decide your expectations for your life and kids and how important character qualities are. It’s important to know what you intentionally want to pass on to your kids using role-modeling and communication. Dr. Kathy reads a list of some character qualities most of which are from her books, like attention, compassion, caring, courage, generosity, sensitivity, thankful, thoughtful, wise, etc.
To prioritize character the first thing you have to do is to choose the qualities you want to model. What are your values and purposes? What is your mission in life? What do you want to mark or characterize your character? It’s important to answer these questions to decide which qualities to embrace and the goal should be to get you and your kids to a place where you could use those qualities without thought and effort.
Character qualities are intertwined and character qualities drive other character qualities. For example respect for others motivate compassion and loyalty drives service. Dr. Kathy also mentions that if you are punctual it means you are respectful, dependable, and responsible so character qualities are intertwined. To help kids imbibe character qualities we talk about it, we model it and we teach with direct language the character qualities we want to our kids to develop. It’s is your instruction that adds to your motivation and that allows your kids to consistently display the character qualities you want your kids to imbibe.
Being a Christ-follower is also another motivation to get your character right. So the steps involve choosing the character qualities, getting motivated, watching for modeling, getting some direct instruction, and developing success by the consistency of choosing the character we are prioritizing over and over again. As we choose and prioritize character qualities we come better at it and it’s comfortable for us and marks us as part of who we are. Reteaching may happen from time to time with kids to help me enforce consistency as learning character is not all that different from learning other things. Kids learn by doing so it’s best to start with choosing the quality, to keep making the same choice and it soon becomes a part of who they are and how they are known. We learn character by expecting it, talking about it, modeling it, teaching it, and giving kids practice with it.
Technology has robbed most kids of their character as with the use of technology kids can isolate, become self-centered, and become prideful. Dr. Cathy mentions that this episode is not