Good Choices: At the Core of Character Building

We’ve all heard the words character building. Many of us have some idea of what makes up character. But if you surveyed 20 people, you would get 20 different answers about what makes up character. So, what are these elements and how to we “build” them?

The dictionary defines character as “the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.” Sounds fine, but it is very general. What mental or moral qualities? Are they different for every individual? Parents, teachers, after-school programs and the like are all dealing with these questions.

In a practical sense, we judge a person’s character by the actions he or she takes in a given set of circumstances. For example, a person who looks down and finds a $20 bill and looks around to find who dropped it is said to have “good character.” Why? How about a person who spends some time counseling a friend away from drug or alcohol abuse? Good character, right? How about parents who treat their children with love and care? No question. How about kids who help their parents and even their teachers? Same deal.

These are all examples of good character. You could probably come up with thousands of examples.

But what is the common denominator of these aspects of character? Making the right, or reasonably right, choices in a given situation. The person finding the lost $20 bill made the choice to try and find the rightful owner. Children helping their parents by cleaning up the house or doing some laundry have made a choice to do so.

So by this view we could define good character as having a tendency to make good and moral choices.

This leads us straight back to character and HOW to build it. This means all one really needs to do is teach children HOW to make good choices. And wouldn’t you know it, that’s the title of our booklet, How to Make Good Choices, and our Good Choices Program.

With the years of experience now documented on this program, it is actually pretty easy to teach children the basics of how to make their OWN good choices in life.

The Good Choices Program is really a toolbox for this. The 21 chapters if How to Make Good Choices are based on its parent booklet, The Way to Happiness—a tried-and-true guide to moral and happy living. Over 100 million copies of The Way to Happiness have been distributed worldwide in over 100 languages.

The chapters of these booklets are the real building blocks of character and how to make moral choices leading to the “the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual” that the dictionary says make up character. Now we have a list of those qualities and guess what, they are not hard to grasp or do. In fact, walking the walk of good character is easy.

Once you know how…