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Developing Character Traits

Character Traits
    
  Character traits are a positive set of principles to live by.  The following positive traits are provided to illustrate concepts that can be incorporated into a person's daily life beginning in early childhood:

  • Honesty - Telling the truth; never mislead or withhold key information in relationships of trust; 
  • Courage - Doing the right thing in face of difficulty and following your conscience instead of the crowd.
  • Demonstrate integrity - Stand up for your beliefs about right and wrong; be your best self; resist social pressure to do wrong. sincerity;
  • Keeping promises - Always limit promises to those you KNOW you can keep; Your word should be your bond; Don't borrow money if you can't repay the obligation;  Always return what you borrow in a timely fashion.
  • Loyalty - Stand by your family, friends, employers, community, and nation; Don't gossip about people. 
  • Responsibility - Think before you act; Always consider consequences; Hold yourself accountable and own up to mistakes you make; Never attempt to shift the blame to others.
  • Pursue excellence - Do your best and don't quit when the going gets tough.
  • Be kind and caring - Be generosity and show compassion; Never be selfish or mean.
  • Respect - Be courteous and respectful; judge all people on their merits; be tolerant, appreciative, and accepting of individual differences.
  • Fairness and being nonjudgmental - Treat all people fairly always listen to others and try to understand what they are saying and feeling. Be open-minded and be willing to give people another chance for their first  offense (depends on the offense).
  • Be a responsible citizen - Obey the law and respect authority; Exercise your right to vote; Serve willingly on jury panels; whenever possible, volunteer in various community projects;  Protect the environment by recycling and when possible make a "green" choice.
  • Perseverance - Pursuing worthy objectives with determination and patience while exhibiting fortitude when confronted with failure.
  • Self-discipline - Demonstrating hard work controlling your emotions, words, actions, impulses and desires. Giving your best in all situations.

Character Development
        We should always attempt to be a role model of positive character traits that demonstrate how these virtues are both good for the individual and for society. As defined by Dr. Thomas Lickona, the objective goodness of virtues is based on the fact that they:

  • Affirm our human dignity
  • Promote the well being and happiness of the individual
  • Serve the common good
  • Define our rights and obligations
  • Meet the classical ethical tests of reversibility (Would you want to be treated this way?) and universal ability (Would you want all persons to act this way in a similar situation?).
      The Character Education Network has adopted nine of the most popular traits for the organization of school curriculums. These are not the exact traits adopted by all school systems. However most traits and values used in character education are synonymous or related to the character traits on this site. Below are traits that can be taught using the content contained on this site.

          
Traits Correlation
 
Character Traits Related Traits
Honesty Truthfulness, Loyalty, Integrity
Responsibility Dependability, Reliability
Perseverance Diligence, Patience
Caring Kindness, Compassion, Generosity, Cheerfulness, Charity, Helpfulness
Citizenship Patriotism, Sportsmanship
Respect Self Respect, Respect for Others
Fairness Tolerance
Self-Discipline Self Control
Integrity Honesty, Truthfulness, Trustworthiness
Patriotism Citizenship, Devotion, Responsibility
Courage Fortitude, Determination

 A Personality Makeover
      Hair color can be easily changed. Clothing sizes can quickly change with increases in weight, but like loosing weight takes much more time. It is possible to change your personality is you determine what others see you in a negative light. So how hard could it be to develop your own personality? The following is a partial list of ways to improve your image:

  • Talk Less, Listen More  -  it is important to develop the habit of listening more and talking less. Let others do the talking and listening to them without perfunctory nodding of your head.
  • Being the Class Clown  -  People love those who are fun to be around. However, you don't always want to be the life of the party or people will not take you serious when you want to make a point.
  • Become more extroverted  -  Get out and meet people outside your comfort zone improves your chances of meeting someone new who shares your values.
  • Expand your aware of the world - Keep up on current affairs provides a different perspective that will help to define you and how you relate to the rest of humanity.
  • Impressing others - Very few people will be impressed by your exploits and exaggerations of various parts of your life.
  • Be Supportive - Say a kind word to a perfect stranger and send a quick note to let colleague how much you appreciate them. Taking the time to offer encouragement and support costs very little, but can be a very rewarding experience.
  • What Is Your Communication Style?  Effective communication is very important in our information intensive world. How you present yourself through verbal communication can have an major impact on your career and accomplishments.

      Your personal experiences shape your understanding of personal, business, social, and school relationships. If you have a difficult time understanding other people's motives then it will be more difficult for you to explore characters that feel or think differently than you do.

      The family environment and relationships experienced as a child provide a major influence on the relationships we form as we transition into adulthood.

Moral or Ethical Code
      Moral and ethical codes vary depending on a persons religious beliefs and country of origin.  The following are provided for illustrative purposes:

  • Steal?
  • Physically and/or mentally abuse others?
  • Use abusive or overly sophisticated language to intimate others?
  • Engage in power plays with the groups you associate with?
  • Cheated on a test?
  • Entered false information on your income tax or a school/job application?
  • Betray the confidences of a family member, coworker, close friend, significant other?
  • Addicted to drugs, alcohol, nicotine, etc.
  • Break laws that you consider are irrelevant - driving under the influence, texting or using cell phone while driving, driving without care insurance or a legal driver's license?
  • Have deep seated fears?
  • Obsessive?
  • Compulsive?
  • Constantly flirt?
  • Gossip?
         Do you have difficulty in empathizing with other people and their struggles. You need to delve into your inner thoughts to begin to understand the positive and negative traits that for your character.

Responses
        Everybody acts differently under stressful conditions. The personal history and upbringing of each individual play a large part in forming the person they will become. No two siblings will have the same perception of their family environment.

        Every individual develops little gestures and movements that make them unique and set us apart. These collective mannerisms are ingrained into our subconscious and until someone calls attention to them, we rarely realize we're doing them. These traits can originate by association and observation of positive and negative behavior of those who are most influential in our lives.

       Some might describe these behaviors as little idiosyncrasies give our characters depth and appeal. Others might find them as annoying to a point of avoiding the "offending" individual.  Sometimes people display a wide variety of mannerisms when they are nervous, happy, scared, bored, or angry. A few examples are provided to illustrate annoying mannerisms:
  • Tapping a foot or "drumming" with fingers.
  • Snapping fingers or cracking knuckles.
  • Biting fingernails
  • Greeting everyone with a "bear" hug or "bone crushing" handshake.
  • Constant tossing of the head to rearrange their hair.
  • Running fingers through hair.
  • Blowing breath out through the mouth in exasperation
  • Loud, audible sighs
Recommended Reading:
What Is Character?  It is those character qualities, those character traits, that determine a person's ... Character development is essential to the ongoing success of our society.

Character Education - Youth Development (CA Dept of Education)  Aug. 31, 2011  "Effective schools seek to develop and reinforce character traits, such as caring, citizenship, fairness, respect, responsibility, etc..

Process of Socialization: Personality Development    July 4, 2006  Some hereditary factors that contribute to personality development do so ... We often share personality traits with others, especially members of close family, religious groups, etc..

Character Traits  People have unique attributes called traits. Site provides a list of character traits.

Type Development - Personality Pathways  An Introduction to the dynamics of personality development using MBTI, ... The penchant of conventional psychology to identify personality traits.

Kagan Catalog - Character Education & Emotional Intelligence  How do you develop these valued character traits? At this web site, you will find hundreds of questions, quotations, and dilemmas to explore.

Personal Value System. Using these values as a guide for how you conduct yourself. They can help you develop solid friendships, a good career and a foundation of good reputation and integrity.

References:


Resources:

The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:

   
Developing Personality Traits and Character Traits

All materials are copy protected. 
The limited use of the materials for education purposes is allowed providing
credit is given for the source of the materials.


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