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Wise Parents Teach Character Traits for a Happy Life

I Love You So Big! Blog- Lynne Namka, © 2011-13

“Wisdom has to do with overcoming negation and separation: with practicing assent, unconditional hospitality, the selfless welcome of every stranger as an infinite being, and so also with practices of peacefulness, justice, non-violence and continuous forgiveness. Wisdom means learning to speak and listen without any shadow of the exercise of power: of learning to welcome and explore the unknown without detaining or fixing it. It means that we must learn – over and over again – no matter what. I think, that in the work of wisdom, there is no hierarchy, no teacher except Wisdom herself.” – Christopher Bamford

Wise parents keep learning and growing. Here are some basic character traits you can learn and pass on to your children so that their lives will be much easier and richer. You can study character education to provide yourself with the tools to pass these important attributes on to your children.

Parent Kids Character Traits

Talk to your kids about the character traits you expect from them.

Caring for Others
Being understanding and tolerant of others. Being helpful and kind to those people what are not as fortunate as yourself. Being compassionate and generous with others.

Fairness
Cooperating with others and treating them justly. Recognizing the uniqueness of each person within our society. So let’s turn to John Wayne who said, “There’s right and there’s wrong. You get to do one or the other. You do the one and you’re living. You do the other and you may be walking around, but you’re as dead as a beaver hat.” Of course, “The Right Thing” sometimes means taking the hard road and making the right choice.

Perseverance
Continuing to go forward even in the face of adversity. Pursuing worthy objectives with determination and patience while exhibiting fortitude when confronted with failure.

Self-discipline
Demonstrating hard work controlling your emotions, words, actions, impulses and desires. Learning to modulate the emotions in conflictual situation. Giving your best in all situations.

Honesty
Feeling good about being a person of integrity. Telling the truth and admitting wrongdoing. Being trustworthy and acting with integrity even when it is hard.

Courage
Standing up for what you believe is right. Doing the right thing in face of difficulty and following your conscience instead of following the crowd. Going against the peer culture when others do harmful things.

Motivation
Happiness comes through finding meaning in interests, hobbies and daily activities. Motivation comes from being willing to act on those priorities in life that have meaning and give effort and hard work.

Citizenship and Civic Value
Being law abiding and involved in service to school, community and country. Living in accordance with democratic principles, democratic institutions, patriotism, rights and responsibilities of a pluralistic society, justice and the rule of law.

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Make Time for Character Building

I Love You So Big! Blog – Lynne Namka, © 2011-13

“The ways in which families are formed, function and evolve vary greatly from country to country, as do perceptions of the family’s role in society. But in any culture, the family provides the natural framework in which individuals – especially children – receive the emotional, financial and material support indispensable to their development. It is within the family that children learn the values that will guide them for the rest of their lives. It is within the family that they form their earliest relationships, learn to communicate with others and interact with the world around them.” – Kofi Annan

Children do listen to their parents even if they pretend they don’t. You are setting an example as to what you say and do. Talk about character values as you drive to the market with your child or cook dinner. Watch your children’s favorite television shows and movies. After a frank television show, turn off the TV and talk about the motivations of the characters. Ask your child to make value judgments about the behavior of the different characters. Ask him how the person might have chosen otherwise. Look for the hidden agendas or themes in a television series. What messages does the show push? Opt out of those sitcoms that are funny but get laughs at the expense of encouraging playing mean jokes, hateful sarcasm and premarital sex. Teach kids good character traits

Give examples from your child’s life where he has made hard decisions according to his values and remind him how good he felt about himself. An example might be, “Remember when you worked so hard for your Scout badge on Health and Safety? You felt so pleased with your effort. That is an example of your preserving

to get something you wanted and benefiting from it. Think about what Theodore Roosevelt meant when he said “It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed. In this life we get nothing save by effort.”Have frank discussions on the character traits where your child could stand some improvement. Ask your child to give you the reasons why a certain trait might be helpful in a life. Ask for examples about other young people who exhibit this trait. Get young people to debate ideas that they are shaky on helping them adopt and incorporate the ideas as their own.

It’s never too late to speak up and tell your child what values you expect from them. If you have a twenty-year-old who is acting like a fifteen-year-old in some area, he is developmentally arrested and still needs some guidance in that area. It’s never too late to develop those character traits that ensure a successful life.

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Character Counts: Developing Personality Traits for a Happy Life

I Love You So Big Blog! – Lynne Namka, © 2011-13  

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only though experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired and success achieved.” – Helen Keller

Character education is necessary for developing good self esteem and recognizing that the source of real strength is within. Dr. Thomas Lickona defined character education as developing virtues that are good for the individual and good for society. They are virtues that are inspirational and appeal to the noble in our human nature.

Positive character values support the best that is in us as a species. They are the core values that come from the major religions of the world and are universal that exist in cultures the world over. The objective goodness of virtues affirm our human dignity, promote the common good and recognize the Golden Rule of treating others as you would want to be treated. Positive character traits include those attitudes and behaviors that affirm life rather than trying to suppress or negate it to get one’s own desires met. They are constructive rather than destructive and increase energy and the significance of life enhancing the welfare of all.

Character is the stuff that makes heroes out of common people. Any decision or choice defines, at any given moment, who we are and comes from our character. It determines how our life is shaped as described by Heraclitus when he said, “Our character comes back to us as destiny.” Choices are of great consequence and come from how we view who we are. An ill-based choice can change the course of a life.

Of course, these character traits trickle down from the top – that’s you. If you live these traits and espouse them regularly, your child will most likely absorb them naturally. If you are lacking yourself in a trait, expect that from your youngster. Children learn what they live with.

So talk about values and character to your child. Discuss principles and how living your beliefs bring satisfaction. Think of your words as a content transfer from your heart and brain via your mouth to his. Show the inner virtues that you stand for by pointing out the conflicts you get in and how you choose the better way. Ask your child to determine if his behavior is consistent with his principles.

My Parental Advice Credentials:

I’m the mother of three grown children who are nice, happy people contributing to their communities and the grandmother of three. I raised my children with many of these ideas gleaned from the best that psychology has to offer. I observe that parents today are having a harder time of raising children than those in my generation. I’m a psychologist in private practice with 30 years experience working with young people, families and adults. I am the author of nine self-help books including The Mad Family Gets Their Mads Out, which is #23 on a best selling list for domestic violence and is in its fifth printing. My award-winning web pages on anger management (www.AngriesOut.com) feature over 120 articles on healthy living and appropriate anger management. See my advice column with letters from angry children on my website called Ask the Lady Who Knows About Mads.



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