It’s a funny thing, character, the way it brands people
as they age rising from within to leave its scar
– Kate Morton, The Distant Hours
The school board I worked for introduced an initiative to promote character education in the classroom. Acceptance, caring, honesty, respect, empathy, perseverance, and responsibility were among the traits targeted. At the start of each week, I would introduce a character trait and then weave it through the lessons, offering students an opportunity to apply and learn. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it was like hitting my head against a brick wall. It led me to question how character is developed.
In literature, a character is established and demonstrated one of four ways:
- through dialogue – what the character says
- through their thoughts – what they don’t say
- through their actions
- by what others say about them
Could we apply this same process to people? Impossible, of course, to know what anyone is thinking, but the summation of words plus actions plus how a person is perceived surely makes up character.
Kate Morton’s line from The Distant Hours struck me enough to write it down. The idea that character can rise up and “leave its scar” made me ponder. I thought immediately of an old aunt of mine, long deceased. A crusty individual who saw the world in terms of black and white, and yet who in her older years revealed herself as rather grey.
Much to think about this week, and I can’t wait to see what you come up.
In the meantime, I thought I’d leave you with one more quotation:
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