Character Counts

"The measure of a man's character is what he would do if he knew he never would be found out." Baron Thomas Babington Macauley And that's for good or for bad things. What we do unobserved or when we don't have to in some measure defines who we are. So to pick some pretty mundane (but not unimportant) examples, I'd say character is: *Picking up what fell down, even if you didn't drop it. *Returning the change when the cashier miscounts, gives you too much and doesn't notice. *Rising to give a seat to someone who needs it more than you, even when you're tired and you're not sitting in one of those sections that's priority seating for the elderly, disabled, etc. *Admitting fault, even when more people than you were involved. *Being generous with sharing credit with coworkers, even when you did the bulk of the work on the project. *defending the powerless, even when it's not your problem. *Congratulating a friend or colleague who got the promotion, mate, financial windfall you were hoping to get. Abraham Lincoln once observed "Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing." What's YOUR definition of true character? Waiting…

is a Los Angeles-based correspondent for NPR News and co-author, with Karen Elyse Hudson, of The New Basic Black: Home Training For Modern Times (Doubleday).


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