Your child needs character development. He needs a set of guiding principles and the inner strength to follow them. Guiding principles are touch points that your child can return to in times of uncertainty. Inner strength is the ability to relax in the face of danger or in the midst of a crisis. In this relaxed state your child will make good decisions about what to do or not do.
The Shotokan Karate Leadership School creed starts with ‘Seek Perfection of Character’. We intend it to mean that you continuously search for ways to refine your character. Character being the essence of who you are. It is the mental and moral qualities that define you and distinguish you from others. Abraham Lincoln said, “Reputation is the shadow. Character is the tree.”
Our character is much more than just our reputation or what we try to display to others. It is who we are even when no one is watching. Having a good character means doing the right thing just because it is right to do what is right.
Thomas Babington Macauley said, “The measure of a man’s character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.”
When you see your child ignoring this, try asking him if he knows the first principle – Seek Perfection of Character. Then ask him what it means. If he can’t explain it ask him to think about who he is and how he’s different from other kids. He may not get it right away but don’t let that deter you. Don’t push it if he’s getting frustrated but come back to it some time later. Character development is a long term process. So stay with it.
Next, I’ll discuss our second principle ‘Be Faithful’ and how to tie it into your child’s daily life.