Character is behaving in a certain way when no one is watching you.

One thing is often missing in these dreams and plans: character development.

Too many parents are more concerned with IQ than with CQ — character quotient.

Character or Reputation

When we see these two words together, we often mistakenly believe that you cannot have one without the other.


Reputation is what others around us think of us. It is really the opinion that is held by others concerning who we are and why we do what we do. We can have a “good” reputation, or a “bad” reputation. However, we must realise that both of these are relative, and that a “good” or “bad” reputation is only in the eye of the beholder.

Far more valuable is our Character. Character is who we are when no one is looking. It is not just the face in the mirror, but the “face behind the face”. A person with character is one who can stand fast in the face of false accusations, insinuations, slander and ridicule; who remains rock solid in the face of these abuses. Who remains undefeated by hurt, despair and depression. Reputations come and go; character will hold you safe through the storms. Develop character both in yourself and in your children, and you will never have regrets.


Values are the desirable principles in someone’s character that society considers worthwhile. Friendliness and courage are values. Morals work with the judgment of values as they emerge in actions. Promptness is a value; therefore, it is morally wrong to be late to work. Your teen needs you to teach him/her values so they can create their own strong moral fibre.

Six Character Traits

Trustworthiness. When others trust us, they give us greater leeway because they feel that we don’t need monitoring to assure that we’ll meet our obligations. They believe in us and hold us in higher esteem. Trustworthiness is the most complicated of the six core ethical values and concerns a variety of qualities such as honesty, integrity, reliability and loyalty.

Respect. People are not things, and everyone has a right to be treated with dignity. We should treat everyone with respect, regardless of who they are and what they have done. We have a responsibility to be the best we can be in all situations, even when dealing with unpleasant people. Respect prohibits violence, humiliation, manipulation and exploitation. It reflects notions such as civility, courtesy, decency, dignity, autonomy, tolerance and acceptance.

Responsibility. Life is full of choices. Being responsible means being in charge of our choices and, thus, our lives. It means being accountable for what we do and who we are. It also means recognising that our actions matter and we are morally on the hook for the consequences. People show responsibility by being accountable, pursuing excellence and exercising self-restraint. They exhibit the ability to respond to expectations.

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In the end, your child’s character will provide the foundation for his life. I believe that the leadership crises in our government, our businesses and our church are all traced back to this issue of character.

OmarBradley, the famous World War II general said, “We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the ‘Sermon on the Mount.’ The world has achieved brilliance without conscience. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants.”

Do you realise the power that you have as a parent? When you help raise children with godly character —children who will withstand the pressures of the world — you are helping to shape the world for the good in the next generation.

Five things that I as a parent need to do to make sure I’m on the right track to help my children develop their character are the following:

7.1.1        Invest time in your own character by challenging the compromises, outbursts, self-indulgence, excuses and other inappropriate behaviour in the example that you live out before your children every day.

7.1.2        Understand your child’s temperament, as that is a predictor of your child’s likely weaknesses. Some children are prone to insecurity while others can be arrogant. Some can be manipulative while others lack internal drive. Only when you know can you effectively invest your parenting efforts where they will make a real difference.

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