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To improve something it helps to measure it. So awareness can be the starting point. We can obtain a snapshot-in-time measure of our character.

  • IF character is a process of becoming…
  • IF we’re not dead yet, then our character is changing…
  • IF character development is a process of flows of positive and negative inputs, building up as a reservoir…
    • By the way, systems thinking calls this a process of flows and stocks. For a good book on this look at Thinking in Systems, by Donella Meadows. This way of thinking can make a big difference in how we approach character development.
  • IF we tend to radiate what we are daily… IF others can see our character clearly even if the view is in our own personal blind spot for now,
    • THEN if character building really were flows of water into a tank, the walls of the tank would be clear to everyone else and somewhere between translucent and clear for us depending on our awareness and focus.
  • IF a means of measuring character includes our behavior…
    • IF our persistent thoughts, those we ponder repeatedly, radiate out of us as our actions, speech, and physical demeanor…
    • and IF this is especially true during times of opportunity and stress…
  • IF a measurement opportunity is our response to our own appetites and impulses when they are aroused…
  • IF the company we like and keep reveals our character…
  • IF the approval of our own conscience is also a measure
    • We can use the imagery of Jiminy Cricket in Disney’s Pinocchio as a visualization of conscience if it helps.
    • In the 1950’s David O McKay made this comment that seems just as relevant today, “To have the approval of your conscience when you are alone with your thoughts is like being in the company of true and loving friends. To merit your own self-respect gives strength to character.”

Indeed, IF we have established that character can be measured like a photograph snapshot in time, although the process of character development is more like a movie. And IF what can be measured can be improved

THEN what do our measures of character indicate right now? Of ourselves? Of the child?

THEN no matter how uncomfortable such measurements may make us, what does the data tell us about needed improvements? Although human nature is to pretend there is nothing wrong with us, nothing lacking, what does the measurement data reveal? Data-driven often yields better decisions than emotion-driven ones.

THEN looking at where we currently are and where we want or need to be, we can see the gap and make plans to bridge it. Although human nature may cause feelings of being overwhelmed or depressed by what we see in the measures, there is opportunity. For without awareness, we cannot address it. Being awakened allows us to see what we’ve become and improve.

By measuring the variance between the should be and the actual state of character, we can see if there is a gap or variance between the two (meaning room for improvement) and make plans to begin our internal renovation project.

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KW Lanham


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