When I was young, my dad used to always tell me,
“If you do one thing everyday that you’d rather not do, over time, it will build character.”
As my young brain begin to make the connections I observed that my parents lived out this statement. I remember the day that I realized dad didn’t always want to go to work, but he did it anyway because he provided for our family. I watched as my older siblings learned this lesson and realized they were living out the big word: RESPONSIBILITY. There were days when my mom wanted to send us all to public school, but she kept to her calling to homeschool us.
So I tried it out one day. Growing up, we had what we call chore cards. Small individual note cards that had the job written out on them. As kids, we would look through our stack of chore cards and grumble over the ones that were particularly difficult and time consuming. One such chore was changing out the rabbit cage. (Could I sound more “Little House on the Prairie? Sheesh!) Yes, we had a pet rabbit, her name was Satin, and all of us hated changing out the cage. It was nasty and smelly and the goal was always to get it done as fast as we could. Of course that meant cutting some corners. So one day, as I was learning the importance of character, I decided I was going to do this job, and I was going to do it to the best of my ability, no matter how long it took. I felt good about myself that day. Very grown up and accomplished, but the truth of the lesson has followed me ever since.
Character. The traits and qualities that make up who we are. Having strong character is the ability to silence the excuses that come when you’re faced with responsibility. It is the strength of character that enables us to do what is right even when it would be easier to take the short cuts. And sometimes, when things get tough it is our character that will be the only thing we have left to stand on. You see, my dad had learned the importance that a fulfilled life was one of sacrifice, service and selflessness. I have remembered his words and carried them into my adulthood where they couldn’t be closer to the truth.
So, today, I challenge you: Do something that you would rather not do, and do it to the best of your ability. Over time, you will begin to build character, and character will always stand.