Character, according to the dictionary, is the moral or ethical structure of a person. One quote cited by an old friend, Dr. Orbra Hulsey, says “I will exercise character. I will do a good turn and keep it a secret. If anyone finds out, it won’t count.”
The Bible teaches in James 1:4 “So let your endurance grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.” Dr. Hulsey also quoted the following statements which really help one to understand the meaning of character. “Character, like a rifle, cannot shoot higher than it is aimed.” “Above all other things in the world, character has supreme value. A man can never be more than what his character can make him.” “The world may take the liberty of making our reputations for us, but we alone can build our own character.” “The object of knowledge should be to mature wisdom and improve character.” “Character is a victory, not a gift.” And finally, “A man’s reputation is only what men think him to be; his character is what God knows him to be.”
I’ve always heard that our eyes are the windows of our soul. As I quoted my old friend in the previous lines, I remember the gleam and twinkle that were always present in his eyes. A smile just automatically comes as I picture this fine Christian man of education. We lost a man of great character when he passed away.
I’ve looked into the eyes of death on two occasions: at my father-in-law’s death bed, and at the Oklahoma State University vet school when we had to put down our wonderful Great Pyrenees dog, Oscar. I was overwhelmed at how there was absolutely no gleam or twinkle in the eyes of either one. A glass marble has more reflection and depth than the eyes when death comes. So, I believe that a person of good character will be able to sparkle and shine through his/her eyes. Perhaps that is one reason a person who tells a lie usually cannot look you straight in the eyes. Just knowing that fact helped me work with children brought to me for discipline.
A leader with good character is usually honored by his/her followers. The group is usually dedicated to the tasks and goals set by the leader because that leader is trusted to show good judgment. When we hear “You only live once,” remember if you work it right, once is enough. As I give my students opportunities for leadership, I will do what I can to encourage them to develop good character. Then, to sum it up for them, I offer this quote:
“Self-respect cannot be hunted. It cannot be purchased. It is never for sale…It comes to us when we are alone, in quiet moments, in quiet places, when we suddenly realize that, knowing the good, we have done it; knowing the beautiful, we have served it; knowing the truth, we have spoken it.” I close in loving tribute to this man of character I knew.