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Monday, July 25, 2011

Monday Morning Check In: Character

When we think about people in general, we think in terms of whether we like or dislike someone. What makes us think positively or negatively about someone? I think much of our opinions about someone stem from our beliefs about the person's character. I believe that what a person's character is will be vitally important to how successful the person can be.

H. Jackson Brown, Jr. is credited as the author of the quote: “Our character is what we do when we think no one is looking.” If we find money in the street, and no one is around, what will we do with it? If we find trash on the floor in an empty hallway, what will we do with it? If we pass by a grocery cart that is left somewhere other than the cart corral, what will we do with it? How you would answer these questions will give you insight into your character -- what you would do if no one was looking.

Character can be defined broadly, such as being those features and traits that distinguish an individual from another. Or, character can be defined as "[t]he mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual," as stated by dictionary.com. Does it matter what our character is? Maybe not for some, but for teachers, I believe that what our character is will be absolutely crucial to our success. Parents entrust their most prized possession, their child, into our care and under our influence and tutelage. I believe that parents care immensely about the type of character that we embody.

Many times we often see or hear the word "integrity" associated with character. Integrity is defined by dictionary.com as "[t]he quality of being honest and having strong moral principles." However, the part of the definition of integrity that intrigues me the most is "[t]he state of being whole and undivided." It is this sense of wholeness and completeness that truly gives substance to the word integrity as it relates to character. But, more about this subject in coming weeks.

For this week, take a few moments to reflect on what you want your character to be and in what areas you think you should strive to improve. I started my thoughts by making a list of positive and negative traits of teachers. I took a piece of paper and folded it in half to form two columns. I labeled the left column with a negative sign and the right column with a plus sign. Then I started listing character traits, flaws and strengths, in the appropriate column as I thought of them. I plan to spend this week completing this list by considering teachers I knew and what qualities about them that I liked or disliked. I am certain that there are several qualities that I myself possess that will show up on one side or the other of my ledger.

For this week I will form no opinions or judgments. I will just reflect, consider, and record my thoughts about character traits, good and bad, that I have experienced or observed in myself and other teachers. I want to visit this topic over the course of several weeks in order to develop a plan to strengthen our character in positive ways and with an eye towards that elusive quality known as integrity.

1 comment:

  1. I like this part--"the part of the definition of integrity that intrigues me the most is "[t]he state of being whole and undivided." It is this sense of wholeness and completeness that truly gives substance to the word integrity as it relates to character. "

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