DEVELOPING CHARACTER TRAITS
Values are caught, not taught. The best teacher does not just read about it, but is a good example as well. So observe someone in action and try to emulate their qualities.
- Positive self-image. This is the prime character trait. With this and self-confidence, you are capable of becoming successful individuals in the community. Realize that you should feel that your ideas are good, you have the ability to do any or all that you think you can, and that you look as good as anyone else. These attitudes are strictly a state of mind. A parent helps build this initially. Children believe parents are always right. So if you as a parent say that the child is dumb, crazy, or stupid they will believe it. Realize that if your parent told you this. It isn’t true for your entire character so try to get rid of that label. Giving people full eye-contact attention when they speak is important. Ignoring someone loudly proclaims to them that they are a nobody. Honest praise and appreciation teaches a positive self image. Give others this and it will return to you.
- Honesty. This is taught through possessions and lessons. You must feel that you have ownership that no one else has the right to touch or take away. Respect others rights of ownership and they will or at least should respect yours.
- Sharing and Caring. Sharing is taught through love. It is a choice you alone must make. A parent may give children reasons to share, and share with them. If your parent taught you to share with others, then that is wonderful. If there were no other children around to share with you may need to work on this one. Also respect other peoples’ individual decisions to a limit, if it does not injure another. Also try to see past your own life to others. In helping to care, understand and feel for others, you will better understand yourself.
- Work and Industry. Even wealthy people I know are smart not to give everything they could afford to their children. Their children have learned how to work and how to earn. Perhaps Mom and Dad can afford to buy a car or large item for a teenager. Some parents may offer to pay half if their child is willing to work for the other half. If this was your situation or that you earned a lot of the money you needed for clothes etc.; then you have already learned the value of work. People learn this value in varying degrees. But you need to realize that in order to function properly all the people of this earth need to learn to work and serve in some way. Some may learn this value too well, and overwork to the suffering of the other values in their life. Try to reach a happy medium range.
- Cleanliness and order. Learn the economy of movement, such as the case of keeping a room clean. When changing clothes you can open drawers, take clothes off and put it immediately in the drawer. It is less effort than throwing the clothes on the floor and later searching, bending and putting them in with the dirty clothes. Once your personal space is organized, it should rub off in other areas of your life. The art of `putting things away’ goes along with order and cleanliness. Many people get used to far more dirt than is healthy for them to live in.
- Understanding others. Try to realize what another person may perceive in a situation. Everyone comes from different backgrounds and thinks of things differently than you may assume. A friend of mine told me the story of the little girl who asked her mother, “Mommy, are you warm enough yet, or may I take my sweater off?” We often judge others by how we feel or would react. If you need to understand a situation; then ask rather than assume. Then listen without verbal judgments.
FORCE VS. GENTLE PERSUASION
Remember that discipline is used to alter a child’s improper behavior to the proper behavior. It is not an anger release for the parent. Most effective punishments, even spanking, are given without much emotion. I tell my child what to do. If it is disobeyed the second time I say “That’s twice.” On the third strike, they’re out and I spank. Not hard, no emotion but it gets the point across. Sometimes a spanking is not appropriate, sitting in a chair to think about it for 5 minutes; then a discussion with mommy generally evokes repentance. Sometimes withholding an activity or toy if it was related to the misbehavior is affected. Effective punishment fits the crime. A lot of times it is the natural consequence of a behavior. This is merely to teach obedience to rules and laws and what happens if they’re ignored. Teenagers are slightly different. Spanking generally does not work. Many parents “ground” or withhold activities or privileges. If a teenager gets in after curfew with no phone call of explanation; sometimes setting up the curfew equal to as much as they were late works. Example: If curfew was midnight and he/she came in at 1:00 without a super excuse or checking in, then the new curfew is now 11:00. This way they prove and earn trustworthiness. It’s the way we all earn it anyway. You can change back the curfew when appropriate.
A famous speaker on youth was talking about shopping with her teenage daughter in California. In the car on the way home, the daughter began expressing her dislike for rules and proceeded to tell her mother she was not going to obey any more rules. Upon hearing this, the mother wondered what she should do and missed the freeway exit. Now in the part of California she was in, it meant a half hour delay if not more. The girl was furious and in a panic because she had a date in one hour and still had to get ready. The mom stayed silent while the girl ranted and raved. The mom pulled in the driveway 45 minutes later. The daughter asked, “Mom, why did you do it?” To which the wise mother replied, “I wasn’t going to let any old sign tell me what to do.” The point was well taken as the girl rushed to get ready. Teaching moments are golden moments of gentle persuasion.
Every family seems to have something they are in the habit of continuing. Charming families have regular and secure activities they share. No matter how silly or ridiculous they may seem, to the family they are special. A family heritage is special. The redwoods grow so tall and large that one can even drive a car through a tunnel in its trunk. It is amazing to note the root system beneath the ground. That root system is vastly intertwined with the roots of the family or the group of trees it grows near. We are like the redwoods; if our roots are intertwined with others, we can reach a larger stature. Some ideas for family traditions (These can even be done by close friends or roommates if altered a little):
- Bedtime schedule: Say family prayers or read a story.
- Charity: Making something as a family to take to someone else once a month.
- Family home evenings: One night a week everyone schedules to be home (ours is Monday) and we sing, pray, teach kids principles they need to learn, perhaps go out together as a family, play games, have a puppet show and always refreshments.
- Home movies: Once a year borrow, rent or buy a video camera and make a movie telling of the year’s activities in a dramatic or funny way. Collect these each year for a family history.
- Scrapbook: Get the family together and put all pictures in a family album or scrapbook. Update it twice a year.
- Family collections: Rocks, stamps, stickers, statues, whatever the family wants to collect and everyone contribute. Find things to add to it on vacation or small trips.
- Holiday celebrations: Every 4th of July display fireworks. Halloween, go pumpkin caroling, visit the sick or elderly, go trick-or-treating, make your favorite goodies together, such as: homemade taffy, caramels or popcorn balls. Thanksgiving, have an original Thanksgiving feast. Dress up with one original item such as a hat. Each one then tell what the item stands for and what they are thankful for. Make homemade thank-you notes with original sayings and take them to friends, neighbors or relatives. Christmas, go Christmas caroling, take treat baskets to friends, relatives, or a special needs person, make hot chocolate, roast marshmallows over indoor fireplace, have a family “First Christmas” play using dolls and stuffed animals to fill in if not enough people, open a small present on Christmas Eve and everyone tell what they feel about Christmas. Easter, color eggs and make Easter baskets for friends or centerpieces for tables.
- Vacations or outings: This could range from camping trips to taking the kids to a local park or visiting distant relatives. What-ever traditions you create do them with pride and consistency. It is this security of knowing what to expect, maintaining of regular schedules, and looking forward to the same shared experiences that build strong families.
KNOW YOUR SOURCE
Having a higher source is important for true spiritual beauty. This is an essential part of knowing who we are, why we are here and where we are going. With these defined and stable in our minds we can soar to incredible heights. Deep within you in the fathoms of your soul is the fact that you are united to the universe. You belong to the essence of the source from which all things originate. You are a necessity in the entire realm of creation. It would not be complete without you. Truly knowing this will give you a natural air of prominence and a vital spiritual force.
Norman Vincent Peale had an outlook on religion.
“These views suggest that we are to be not merely receptacles but channels of energy. When we detach ourselves from this Bow of power, we become isolated units and gradually become inwardly barren…
We are like little stagnant pools cut off from the main stream of river which in time can become festering places in which no cleansing streams make a healthful condition possible.”
feel that each of us should center our lives on God who knows us fully, loves us totally and wants to help us to succeed in this life. If we become too centered on work or what other people think or trying to please our families then we can become disappointed in the long run of life and still trying to fill
a void in our lives.
Real joy comes from within. It is the peace granted to us for the great care we have taken to develop inner spiritual beauty and strength.
Each of us needs to dig deeply to grasp the magnitude of being that there is inside of us. Get to know your Maker and add the light of the universe to your spiritual countenance.
LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE
I love people with sparkly eyes shining because of inner peace and joy. They seem to help me to feel warm, fuzzy and at home. They seem to communicate a love to and for others. True light shines many times after the darkest times of our lives. After we gain a true appreciation for the good things of life and seek to pass it on. By learning from our challenges and seeking the power from on high to realize our true inner worth we can each know pure love and joy.
Let your light shine. St. Paul says, “Keep thine eye single (only the good) and thy whole body shall be full of light.” Real peace, joy and happiness are communicated to others by sparkly eyes. So let your true spiritual light shine.
We are all unique and different. No two snowflakes are exactly alike, as well as stars, flowers, or animals. Even identical twins have differences. If not in physical image (and generally they all differ in at least small details) then in personality. A law of the universe is infinite variety. We must be ourselves, not someone else. Our inner divine nature can shine through if we will seek to know who we eternally are and begin the exciting journey to become all that we can become.
ENJOY THE EARTH AND NATURE
When was the last time you stopped to smell a flower? What kind was it? Have you noticed the cloud formations? Do you wonder at the mystery of the stars? Can you look at a field and imagine running through it? When was the last time you did? Nature is awe inspiring. It is marvelous. It gives you a feeling of oneness with the universe. It gives a feeling of perspective; we are so big and complex, yet so small in size compared to the vastness of space. So, noticing nature gives us a sense of humility for how small we are in comparison to the universe and at the same time it helps our spiritual self-esteem by realizing that we are such an important part of it.
We need to become aware of what is around us. Notice new unexpected things. Do not take it for granted and your spirit within you will become alive with excited animation and enthusiasm. The word “Enthusiasm” comes from the Greek root meaning “God Within”.
Another part of nature to observe and learn from is water. Water flows in paths of the least resistance and runs over the top of the roughest rocks. Flowing water is something psychologists use to ease stress and tension in patients. Note how it flows so gradually and smoothly. It fills every void it comes to, then quietly overflows and continues on its way. From this we can learn to let the waves of life wash over our problems. So we should flow through life. We can realize and accept difficulties as a fact of life and use our rocks in life to rise above and flow over them.
For spiritual self-assurance plant a seed of faith and watch it grow. Unless we believe in ourselves, our maker, and our very purpose in life, it is difficult for others to believe in us either.
The entire world loves a lover. A lover is one who loves life and pursues it with expectant and positive faith. With this attitude you need to accept problems as learning experiences knowing it brings you one step closer to success.
Gallantly triumph over those passing trials with the grace of faith. The most used words in the Bible are “It came to pass.” Thus we may know that our trials didn’t come to stay.
Seek after Faith. It’s there! The Bible says that if one were to have the Faith the size of a mustard seed one could move mountains. We can also use faith to help our family and friends. If their emotional love baskets are full of your faith in them, they are also free to expand beyond themselves and think of others. Eventually it comes back to you, but they have to have their souls mended first.
When you have a cut on your finger it is hard for you to forget about it. The senses remind you constantly, and so do emotional senses remind the subconscious when it is hurt. I’m afraid with all the negative conditioning we receive that this is far too often. Then the body naturally goes about trying to patch the wound with emotional band-aids. There can be a quicker recovery if we sense an unconditional love and faith. Even if we feel we are lacking from the love of others, know that our Heavenly Father loves us so much. Once love is felt in your life watch miracles happen. The miracle of love in your life is in full bloom.
KNOW YOUR GOD GIVEN TALENTS
Each one of us has different talents we possess which will help us fulfill the extent of our creation. Many people say they do not have a talent. They may be referring to a stage talent, knowledge or skill such as singing and dancing, understanding math and science, or painting and doing crafts. There are many talents that are so important to this world.
Search out and find the talents that are not as easy to see.
Are you a good listener? Can you help people with their problems? Do you have a great ability for patience? Are you a cheerleader for and appreciate others talents? Do you have a great ability to understand and appreciate art? These are all so important to the nurturing of yourself and others. Our world would not be complete without them. So seek to know what your special God given talents are.
What on earth are you doing for heaven’s sake?
You are here for a purpose and there is so much that needs to be done. After you have discovered your talents, knowledge and skills, seek to use them for a good and noble purpose.
One way to gain a heart full of charity is to become aware of the many charities and functions there are to serve people with different needs. There are groups for just about any need you can imagine. There are groups to help the elderly, the poor, the homeless, the abused and just about any illness of any kind. Do you have a special feeling in your heart for children? Then there are organizations that help handicap children to learn and develop. There are children groups that help the sick, needy and abused. If you can’t find a special interest group that you are inspired to help; start your own charity group to help fill a need you feel strongly about.
Charity does not have to be in an organization. Charity can be as simple as giving someone a rose from your garden to cheer them up. Or like the sister who stays by her sister in the hospital even though she could be performing in her dance recital. Or charity can be somewhat of a tremendous sacrifice.
Whatever charity you find yourself involved in, learn what you can to understand what the needs are. Then try to help with your time, talents and energy to fulfilling that need.
The Bible says, “Seek and ye shall find, knock, and it shall be opened unto you”, so study it out, weigh it out, then pray it out. When you receive an answer to prayers, you will know it. You won’t need to ask any further. It is pure communication flowing through you from a higher source. Some call it conscience, some intuition, but it is nevertheless the highest form of communication from God. Pray to know what it is you should do for yourself and others and then pray for the courage, opportunities and will power to do it!
I say to you that I firmly believe that we should dedicate time to know ourselves, why we are here and for what special purpose we were meant to be. I also feel that if we can truly love our life with respect for the deeper source within us then we can fulfill that which is the highest dimension of humanity, developing all that we were meant to be and then helping and concerning ourselves with making the world a better place to live.
THAT IS TRUE BEAUTY