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Friday, September 14, 2007

Life's struggle and the revelation of character

I heard an interesting comment the other day. It went something like this, "character is not made, it is revealed". May be we all have a seed of character buried deep inside of us. May be this seed is just waiting for some significant event to bring it to life. This line of thought brought me to the Sequoia Redwood tree and it's seeds. The Redwood trees are known for their huge size. However most people do not realize that the Redwood seed is one of the smallest of seeds. This small seed must go through a fire in order for it to start growing. I wonder if character is like a Redwood tree? The more you endure the struggles of life the more your character blooms.

If this is even remotely close to how we develop our character, than one could draw some possible correlations to the apparent absence of true character in some young generations. We spoil our children these days. Our kids do not have the opportunities to grow their seeds of character like the opportunities our parents had. I think there is a polarization occurring between events that cause character growth and events that destroy character. I do believe that we need to experience life's struggles, but that experience should not be so extreme that it destroys us. Like a fire burning in the forest. If it is hot enough to stimulate the seed of the Redwood then a new life is formed. But if the fire is to hot it will consume the seeds and no new life is to be realized.

Pampering children does not help them grow and condemning them only destroys their growth. A computer screen generated conflict will not produce the type of interpersonal struggle needed to germinate one seed of true deep character. Exposing children to enough struggle to start that growth without destroying them should be of goal for today's youth. The question is what should that exposure look and feel like? Many people act like any struggle is a bad thing for today's youth.



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