I can remember numerous occasions when adults had me do something I hated but they assured me it would build my character. I suppose that I gained a good foundation in character building—often, it seemed, I was swallowing my pride, being humble, and accepting menial tasks all in pursuit of this new emerging me!
But now, I realize in life and especially in sports that the games we play do not build character. They reveal it. They reveal who we really are—deep down--like when we are up against moral and ethical decisions—what do
we choose to do? Do we dig deep inside ourselves and call up the true fiber of who we are? Do we stand firm in our commitments or do we shakily move further from the truth of our foundations? Do we act to prevent atrocities? Or do we allow the violent and cruel deeds of others to continue?
I wonder if we as a society have forgotten that character traits-- the distinguishing marks that tell us whether a person has a strong character is crucial for leadership whether in the political or sports arena. These traits are important for society to thrive.
It’s easy in sports and in life to forget or not have learned the qualities that show a person to be of high moral character. It’s easy to forget the character building blocks of resiliency, responsibility, confidence, gratitude, respect, compassion, integrity, patience, sportsmanship, and empathy. But I do believe that today more than ever we need to learn to build character
by incorporating these traits and values into our daily teachings.
There are 66 character traits; what if you selected 6 of them and exercised them on a consistent, daily basis? In an ideal world, your family may have taught you love, then the courage of convictions, and maybe compassion,
respect, responsibility, integrity, honesty –maybe you were lucky enough to have gotten through the entire character trait table. In our less-than-ideal world, you can still do you best and practice at least 6 character traits. Master them; share them.
Character must be cultivated; it takes practice to make responsible choices about how we do things, not just about what we do.