- Family and Parenting»
- Parenting Skills, Styles & Advice
Letters To My Grandchild: Defining Character
Resource On Defining Character
Defining Who You Are
The process of defining yourself starts with knowing who you are; knowing how you identify yourself. These values affect your relationships and decisions you make. How do others see you? Are you the same person with them as you are when you are alone? Understanding who you are and accepting yourself will define your world.
Defining yourself necessitates mentally thinking about who you are when you interact with others and the feelings associated during your exchange of ideas. It also requires noticing your personal behavior and emotions that affect your actions. Why do you feel that way as you interact?
Think about the last time you felt really good about yourself. What was it that made you feel so positive? Did your interaction with others throughout the day affect your mood?
Encouraging a child to take the time to think about these answers will help him to discover what he values and to know himself. These moments will define her and build her character, leading to strong relationships with others, joy and contentment in life.
The following is an excerpt from a letter my husband wrote to our oldest grandchild. It is one in a series of mentoring topics meant to help him develop into a person of integrity; someone who values good life principles while helping others.
Defining Who I Am
Setting Moral Values That Define Character
One of the things that I wanted to touch upon is to ask if you've been taking time to think about whether you've been doing the right things as you go throughout your day. The reason I keep asking is because I think it is one of the most important things you can do for yourself.
If you are like most people, you tend to leave things that work well alone and fix those things that are broken. So, we usually don't make an effort to change the way we behave or the way we treat other people, unless we need to. In other words, we usually don't fix something unless it's broken. And, to go further, you usually won't change the way you behave or act unless you take the time to think about the things you've done and consciously decide to change them for the better. You have to know what's broken before you can get around to fixing it.
But again, the main reason I keep asking is because I believe it is one of the most important things we can do to become a better person; and for you to eventually become the good man you were meant to be.
As you get older, you're going to find that everyone needs to continue to grow in both body and mind. We need to grow in our thoughts and in our relationships with other people. We need to form a set of moral values that will ultimately define who we are and how we will interact with others. You'll find these values will act as your guide when making both small and big decisions in your life.
If you haven't taken the time to reflect, make sure you begin doing it soon. Make sure it's something that you do more than just once in a while. It's something that needs to keep growing, something that will help you learn about yourself (and about other people). Something that will continually help you to become a better person.
Grandparent Wisdom: Words To Live By
As I reflect upon what motivated me to know myself and contentment, I recall the words that my parents used to encourage my personal satisfaction with life circumstances:
I've learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I'm just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I've found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, where I am, I can make it through anything in the ONE who makes me who I am. Book of Philippians 4:11
Even though grandparents have a lot of wisdom to share, having a sense of humor is always a must when talking to grandchildren. I thought I would include a couple of jokes to remind grandparents how children make our life brighter.
- A grandmother was telling her little granddaughter what her own childhood was like: "We used to skate outside on a pond. I had a swing made from a tire; it hung from a tree in our front yard. We rode our pony. We picked wild raspberries in the woods." The little girl was wide-eyed, taking this in. At last she said, "I sure wish I'd gotten to know you sooner!"
- I didn't know if my grandson had learned his colors yet, so I decided to test him. I would point out something and ask what color it was. He would tell me, and always he was correct. But it was fun for me, so I continued. At last he headed for the door, saying sadly, "Grandpa, I think you should try to figure out some of these yourself!"
What do you think is the most important character value you have learned in life?
How To Define Character
Parents can help children define character by discussing virtues relating to character development. This can also help your child to build positive self-esteem increasing his or her self worth and love of life.
I advise parents to wait until their child is old enough to understand these concepts before cultivating their definition of self. Most children are ready to discuss these topics when they reach upper elementary grades, but remember to keep your discussions in age appropriate terms.
Try to relate to your child through words and thoughts they will comprehend; the simpler the better. Sometimes it helps to draw pictures, read books, play a game centered around the concept, or watch a movie theme highlighting a character value.
The following points are ones that can help your child to understand character values that lead to a life of happiness, peace and contentment. It is what defines a person of integrity and great leadership.
- What are your strengths? What can you do that shows you make good decisions? How have you become a better person this year? Can you think of a time where you helped someone with a problem that led them to personal happiness?
- Learn to forgive yourself. Think about a time when you hurt yourself or someone else. Decide that it was not a good decision and that you will forgive yourself and let it go. This will free you to become comfortable with who you are; be kind to yourself.
- Develop Humility. When you are humble you admit that you are not perfect. This allows you to make mistakes and to know that you can learn to do better. It will help you to respect your strengths and how much you have learned in life so far; celebrate your accomplishments.
- Thankfulness. Appreciate or be grateful for what you have and have been given. Maybe you can write a list of things you are thankful for in your life. Has someone helped you or shown you kindness? Why not thank them for how they have helped you?
- Be Responsible. Be honest when you are wrong and apologize if needed. When you are honest, this shows you are in control of your thoughts and actions: a mark of a good person.
- Visualize Goodness (Success): Can you see yourself being a successful or good person? Imagine what you are doing. How are other people reacting to you? Do you feel good about who you are and what you have learned? Did you help people to know happiness through your actions?