Character Building

Which character trait is the most important in a person? Honesty? Working Hard? Positivity? Strength? None and all. None are important separately but important as a whole. Nurturing a child and building his character with these traits and more is a parent’s duty.

Building character

How to build character

Many would be quick to argue that children are the reflections of their upbringing at home. Hence, if a child is abusive on the playground, most likely a parent is bullying him at home or if a girl is anti-social, chances are her mother disallows her to be social outside school.

It is easy to judge if it is not your own child. If society’s outcasts have taught us anything, it is that at times, it’s is not the background of your parents but the person that you are. (Think Michael Faye and Annabel Cheong). But that is not to say that let your children pass unguided because society, environment and surroundings will ruin them anyway! What children need is a guiding hand, something to prop them up and lead the way to becoming a stronger and better person.

Honesty

A thousand quotes describe how honesty makes a person an individual. Even a poor person is rich when he is loaded with honesty. Many have gone a long way just by being honest. Teach your child the importance of being truthful and honest. It starts with small acts of returning found items, owning up to naughty actions, etc. By closing one eye to your child’s sweets-stealing habit, you’re opening a door for him of potential robbery in the future. Yes, you’re quick to argue, not every child who nicks a sweet today is going to be robbing people but the leeway is there for such a habit to build.

Hard Work

Hard work never killed anyone and it is not about to start now. You may be able to afford luxuries and comforts but every child, born rich or poor, should know that nothing is achieved without hard work. An interesting programme that illustrates this is MTV’s ‘Exiled’ where 16-year-olds are taken out of their comfort zones and thrown for a week, into corners of the world where people work hard to build a family, a community, a life.

No, we’re not saying take your kid and leave him in some obscure land for a while. Teach him about how hard people work to provide him with simplicities in daily life that is taken for granted. In Singapore, children are used to having a maid at their beck and call. Let your three-year-old hunt for grubby socks that should be in the clothes hamper. Get your five-year-old to check under the bed for dust-bunnies. Trust me, your child will not become any less the person he is by doing these menial tasks.

Positivity

What a beautiful day, bursting with promises and hopes. That’s what cancer-survivor, Vivienne Koh thinks to herself each day when she wakes up. Teach your children to look at life in a positive way and watch everything glow. Life is full of opportunities and hope and children need to be gently reminded of such. It’s easy for kids to lose hope when their best friend wins first prize in a colouring contest or when the snotty kid can run the fastest. Teach your child to look at the good side of defeat. But be sure, to underline that defeat should be just be about accepting and not being contented with it.

Strength

If you have a little girl, teach her to be strong. Strong women make headlines and no we don’t mean get out there and hit all the little boys in line! Teach her about perseverance and strength. Today’s world has grown into a position that accepts women in the lead. Glass ceilings have been broken with women bosses, women judges, etc. Teach your little girl to be proud of who she is and strong for what she believes in.

Why are these characteristics important?

How many times have you met a person who’s dishonest, lazy, negative or weak? Probably too many to count, yeah? We are all not perfect and one of these characters may be even ours. But change is something that does not come easy in an adult for old habits die hard, don’t they? But moulding a child from young and letting him/her become the person that we or others have failed to be, brings about a sense of accomplishment for the parent and path of good life for the child.

When you build a child’s character, you are not making your child a better person. Your child’s good character will have a positive influence on society, benefiting him/herself and many around him/her.

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