When I was in school, I barely heard the word Character (other than the fictional characters, of course). Whenever there came a topic of a leader, a politician, a warrior, say any historical figure, they all were famous Personality to me. No doubt, they became famous, and I used to think of them as heroes who always bashed their enemies and conquered lands with their military dominance, strategic decision-making, and wisdom. Seldom I knew that before personality, there is a more critical phase of a human, and that’s the character.
With time, I began to realise that character is something so crucial that if one has not had a good character, his or her relationship with anyone or anything will never be sound. And when there is no sound relationship, then there is no trust, no compassion, no empathy, just selfishness, and injustice.
Similarly, having a good character can open people’s hearts for you. Your humility reaches the sky. While you keep yourself down to earth, people trust you and follow you unconditionally. Eventually, your character becomes a role model for the people. That’s the power of having a good character.
So, what difference is there between character and personality?
Here’s what my mind brought to me:
At first, I didn’t consider this a big deal. But as maturity kept on showing its colours, I realised that the character is what makes us who we actually are. The term “personal acts” refers to our personal lives. Sometimes, even the parents are not aware of their child’s character, but the friends and teachers know both the character and the personality.
There are phases in life when the character is judged. When you apply for a confidential employment, or when you are in a marriage proposal, or when someone wants to be your business partner. In such situations, people put light on your character and that’s the time when your character shows up, the real you!
How a Character is Made?
Character is the combination of Consciousness and Knowledge. A person is born innocent, and that innocence is the proof that we are born on God’s true nature. While we grow up, our character develops too. The knowledge we acquire plus the development of our consciousness, if they are properly aligned, then a sound character is made.
There are several factors that mould the character. I want to highlight the 2 most prominent ones according to my experience.
- Spiritual Parents (aka Teachers)
Role of Parents in Character Building
Parents play a big role in building a character. From an early age, their kid begins to mimic and adopt whatever is happening in the house. Every act of the parents is the display of a character for that kid. The way to communicate, greet, eat, walk, treat others, I swear every act! It will take 6-7 years to understand for a kid to realise what a good or bad character is. And if there is something not going well in the house, that’s an alarming condition because the kid will suffer and make the world suffer in the future. He will try to adapt everything from the parents, and thus the character will grow accordingly.
Role of Spiritual Parent (Teacher) in Character Building
A teacher is a spiritual parent because the kid gets the outdoor character development from the teachers. A teacher transforms a social animal into a world leader. Not only the books and whiteboards are enough, but perception building and behavioural development are also a must for the teacher to deliver to the students. If the teacher of today honestly realises the responsibility he/she has, I believe that only then we’d witness a responsible society with unmatched human value. The students get a large amount of knowledge from the teachers. And when the knowledge is delivered justly, only then does a character worthy of becoming a leader rise.
Let me elaborate this with an example:
Everyone knows that lying is not a trait of a good character. But how can you embed this universal truth in your kid? By practical implementation. Not once, not twice, not forcingly, but by naturally saying the truth every time. Let your kid know that his parents tell and support the truth, so he’ll be truthful always.
In school, a teacher is responsible for promoting justice and integrity. Let the kids know that their teacher does what he says. The kids must see that their spiritual parent is fair in everything. There must be no injustice because when a minor corruption by an authority is done, every kid thinks that corruption is allowed, and there is nothing wrong in doing that.
Character and Challenge
Having a good character is easy, but keeping a good character is a challenge. You face the criticism of the world because you are on the right track. Just like the best role model for humanity, the character of the Final Prophet (peace & blessing on him) of the Muslims was so pure and sincere that even his (peace & blessing on him) enemies praised him for being true, honest, kind, and generous. Numerous times, he (peace & blessing on him) didn’t have to use the sword to win battles. Rather the modest and generous comportment made the enemy surrender.
The power of having a good character is unimaginable. You become spiritually strong, and your perception becomes enlightened. You begin to follow a broad vision with a team that is ready to sacrifice their lives for you. Your words are listened by the hearts, and the value of your words becomes great. Whenever you speak, all the ears become attentive. You spiritually grow rich, and your love for humanity is beyond anything else.
And the best part, your relationship with your loved ones, gets unshakable. Your kids see you as a role model, and they follow in your footsteps, which means that they’ll take your vision further ahead after you. Ultimately, you get priceless rewards from the Divine in this world and the hereafter.
Character and personality have a strong connection. A person with a bad character will have a weak soul, and weak souls usually don’t come together with the community. They are afraid of getting exposed. That’s why their self-esteem keeps on dangling, and their spiritual energy weakens. Even if they cope up in keeping a good personality, they will soon realise that they are deceiving themselves. This realisation is important because it makes us mindful that we are being supervised 24/7 by the Almighty. Such characters can’t survive for long because the spiritual connection is the only thing that keeps our souls fresh and steady.