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The Character Council has developed the following six-step process to help each citizen understand and incorporate good character into their lives. If you want to help others in your family, your organization and your community become more conscious of the traits and characteristics of good character, the steps below will help you get the message across.
Before you start, It's important to understand:
With this understanding in mind, you can help by employing the following six steps.
First, gain a clear understanding of the character quality. If you're talking about the positive character quality of "enthusiasm," for instance, you might define it as "Expressing joy in each task as one gives it his or her best effort." Give illustrations from history, contemporary lives, nature, etc. From history, for example, you might point out the enthusiasm with which John Hancock signed the Declaration of Independence. He ignored the peril he was putting himself in by signing the document with a signature so large that the King of England wouldn't need "to put his spectacles on to read it."
Describe the character quality in terms of thoughts, words and/or behavior that are representative of those that result when a person possesses this quality. This not only provides further understanding of the quality, but very importantly provides thoughts, words and behaviors that people can practice to help build the patterns of habit into their own lives. Give an action-oriented definition (the final goal of teaching character is behavior implementation ‐ not just knowledge). For "enthusiasm," you might describe the following actions:
Notice the circular nature of character qualities and actions ‐ thoughts, words, behavior. Possessing the quality gives rise to actions patterned after that character quality. But it is in practicing actions according to that pattern that the individual builds the character quality.
Expected benefits motivate a person to develop character. Benefits fall into two categories.
Begin today to regularly practice the actions that will develop the habit pattern of the character quality, and to experience the benefits that result. Tackle enthusiastically, for instance, a task that you typically dislike doing. On occasion, implementation of the desired end action may be too demanding to accomplish in a single step, and may have to be approached in a sequence of smaller steps.
Encouraging the quality in others is beneficial not only to the others but is especially beneficial to the person doing the encouraging. Encouraging others will keep sharp your awareness of the character quality itself, keeps you actively communicating about it and possibly gaining a new understanding of the quality, and encourages you to keep actively developing the quality in your own life. In the case of enthusiasm, remember how infectious it can be!
Encouragement may be focused on a single individual, on a group of individuals (a family, for example), on an organization of individuals (a business, school, religious assembly, etc.).
Four common facets of encouragement include:
Explicitly invite one or more persons to encourage you in developing character qualities, lovingly holding them accountable to practice options. When a colleague hears you grumbling about deadlines, for instance, ask her to remind you that renewed enthusiasm will help you get back on course.