Think about the words for a moment. Hardship displays character.
As a volunteer for four different Extreme builds, I saw some real ugly displays of character. Some volunteers refused to pick up trash while others left at the first hint of rain, because they didn’t want to get their new shoes dirty. It made me sad when I thought about their motivation for volunteering: a free blue t-shirt or a chance to have their picture taken with a celebrity. And let’s not forget about the individuals who scoured the Internet looking for news articles, like a vulture on a fresh road kill, waiting to leave harsh and insensitive comments.
However, I was fortunate to see many volunteers who were genuine in their desire to help a family in need. They wanted to “pay-it-forward” in gratitude for being a beneficiary of someone else’s good deed. What motivated a man to return to the job site, after falling off a ladder and breaking his ankle the day before? The answer is simple. He was a man of good character. He didn’t build that kind of dedication overnight. He had it with him all along, like a trusty tool belt.
It’s not a single event that builds our character or makes us respond the way we do, in the face of crisis. It is who we are, at our core, that dictates how we handle adversity. Character, therefore, is a result of how we were raised as a child, who we choose as our friends, who we married, and the people we spend our time with.
Yes, we can build character, but we can also destroy it. I have the same core values now as I did when I was a child. These core values are like my foundation of a house. I have endured many hardships in life, which is like painting my house, or adding a new room, replacing the roof, etc. They are all cosmetic changes, but my foundation is the same. I am solid and secure. I am not going to crumble any time soon.
We are what we practice. Practice becomes habit. Habit becomes character.
How do you display your character when faced with a challenging problem? Is there room for improvement?
Does your old “house” need renovations and repairs, or is it time for you to move and build a new house? Will you learn from your mistakes and build a stronger foundation.
I don’t know about you, but the latest adversity in my life is prompting me to do a little Spring cleaning.
Be Kind. Be Thankful. Be Significant.