What a wonderful world it could be if all children knew and experienced the following traits from their parents, extended families and schools:
1. Know they are loved just as they are – it is not about what they are good at, but just because they ARE.
2. Resilient – life can throw lots of things in their paths and they need to be able to bounce bank every time.
3. Respect others and know respect in return. This can be as simple and as commitment to treat others as they like to be treated.
4. Self assurance – the ability to believe in themselves and engage fully in what life has to offer.
5. Confidence – the ability to speak up and express themselves in all sorts of circumstances. They need to know that their contribution is welcome and valuable.
6. Courage – to know fear but to be able to overcome it. Courage is not the absence of fear but the ability to act in spite of it.
7. Compassion – sensitivity to care for others when they are hurting or suffering in some way. Compassion for themselves is just as important.
8. Sense of humour – this is so important, the ability to laugh at something funny; to laugh at one-self; and see the lighter side of all situations.
9. The appreciation of beauty – the ability to be touched by the beauty in nature; in art; in music; in writing; and in people.
10. Appreciation of the ordinary – so often the ordinary is taken for granted. It is only when it is taken away from us that we realise how important it is.
11. A fascination and open-mindedness about science and spirituality and always willing to learn new ideas and experiences.
12. Inner strength – the ability to make commitments or decisions and to go the distance. This inner strength may also be called on to recognise a different path and to turn around and start afresh without giving in to discouragement.
Many of these characteristics overlap, I know, but it is good to look at each on its own and appreciate their importance in the developing child.
When I was at school there wasn’t much emphasis on learning these character traits. For me, I believe that one of the most important traits is resilience. Which ones do you think are most important. I would love to hear your ideas on this.