Man of Character

We have a saying in our house that began beautifully but eventually became weaponized, as families will occasionally do. “Be a man of character” was introduced to our family by my oldest son. His sister and younger brother now use it, mainly, to hold us to extraordinary expectations or as a gentle taunt when we are falling short. Falling short, in my case, seems to occur quite frequently if I am to trust my Catholic-guilt upbringing.img_4914
The concept is simple enough. The problem is that character defined is not good or bad. Merriam-Webster says character is, “The attributes or features that make up and distinguish an individual.” I think it is safe to assume that the original context in my son’s mind intended noble characteristics, things like: trustworthiness, respectfulness, fairness and empathy. I would love to live up to that definition of character more consistently. I could certainly benefit from looking for that more in others. A good friend of mine always reminds me to assume good intentions. Perhaps that is what my son means when he strives to be a man of character.

So much can go wrong when we ascribe motive to words and the actions of others. We really have no way of knowing intentions. Even more problematic is when we assume another’s actions and intentions are directed specifically at us. That may be the root of a lot of our problems these days. Things like road rage and social media ranting occur when we take things too personally. It’s ok if someone disagrees with us. I also think that if we assume good intentions it will be easier for us to maintain trustworthiness, respectfulness, fairness and empathy. When we assume good intentions we needn’t operate out of a defensive or aggressive mind set.

I think I need to start with trustworthiness. Trustworthiness goes both ways. I need to trust that others have good intentions if I expect the same from them. Ok. That gives me enough to work on for today. Let me know how that sits with you.

Advertisements

1 Comment

  1. Trustworthiness going both ways assumes all things are equal – and we know they are not. I have a tendency to be too trustworthy and have been burned many times. I expect people to be as trustworthy as I see myself being. Not all are. Still, after being disappointed in our human failings, I continue to give people the same amount of trust as they can count on from me. Guppie? My pragmatist husband thinks so. Giving all others the same chance I want them to give me? Yup. Sigh.


Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  • Hit Counter

    • 10,460 hits
  • blogstones
  • Recent Posts

  • Fair Use Notice:

    This web site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: www.law.cornell.edu If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.