Even with only ten weeks left of this school year, there are still many opportunities for each child and adult to work on growing in the area that is often the hardest to earn, that is, character.
Character has been described before as the kind of person one is when no one is watching. It could also be described as the sum of our relationships. It also concerns how one responds under stress and whether one is living out of joy or one of its alternatives (e.g. fear, anger).
Regardless of how we define it, character is not something any of us inherits. We may receive a disposition and tendencies from our upbringing, personality and other factors,perhaps from our genes. However, growth in character is the life-long pursuit of growing in wisdom, knowledge, and virtue. As Christians, we believe that this best happens--and at the very least, can only be completed--through a growing relationship with Jesus Christ.
What opportunities to grow in character does each of us have for the next ten weeks? I imagine that they are as different for each person as our fingerprints. However, just like fingerprints, I can also imagine that there will be some elements common to us all. Perhaps some of this will apply to your own family life?
· Growth in one's capacity to respond under stress
· Growth in conscientiousness, the ability to consider other's needs more important than our own
· Growth in attention and dedication to the good work in front of us, whether it is a math problem, a new section of music, a chapter in literature, cleaning the kitchen, or completing a project at work
· Growth in the desire to have relationships that compel us to bring our best selves to class, work, or home
· Growth in gratitude
· Growth in the commitment to take joy in any relationship, particularly the hard ones
· Growth in one's love for and trust in Jesus Christ, "the author and finisher of our faith"
My prayer for each adult and child in our community is that we will grow as individuals and as a community within this overall ultimate goal of growth in who we are, not just what we can do. If character is rightly understood as the enduring and sustaining basis of academics, achievement, and faithfulness in any relationship and study, then any investment here will lead to positive consequences everywhere. May each of us grow in that understanding and practice.
After all, we are in this together!