(image from Pixabay)
And so it is now 2017, and to be honest, for the past few weeks I have been wracking my brain to come up with a satisfying challenge that would really stretch me over the next 12 months (let's blame my obsession with a stretchy challenge on my reading Mihaly Csikszentmialyi's theories of optimal flow .... watch his TED talk here - FLOW). So, there is challenge, and it essentially has started already, and here are the deep, bare bones of it .....
In 2016 I started a new degree, it is a Masters if Character Education, this in itself is a huge challenge, both personally and professionally, but a challenge I relish. In this degree I am learning so much about what character is and how we can develop and build it, not only in ourselves, but in our children and teens. As I am working my way through the, intense, information download, I have been thinking that perhaps the best way to explore these ideas of character is to actually live them. So, within my degree I have found my very personal challenge for 2017 - 12 Months of Character.
Now, I don't know at this point, if you are feeling a bit confused over the meaning of character (I have had people ask me if I am studying characters from plays or books or movies ...), so here is a brief explanation of what the character I am talking about is -
Character - virtue or values traits that make up a person's individual personality, i.e., Mark is brave, Jo is kind, and Harry is imaginative and gritty.
We all like to imagine that we have a lot of character, but I want to explore exactly what character is, to have a more experience driven understanding of certain character traits, and to see what impact developing these character traits will have on my life and that of the people around me.
So, I am starting the "12 Months of Character" - a year long project that will focus on one character trait per month. I will blog about the experience, write up ideas on how you can develop character for yourself, and ultimately see if building character can help us thrive and flourish.
I have alloted a character trait to each month (and the year is divided into 4 categories, based on the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues designation of virtues into, Moral, Civic, Intellectual, and Performance) :
January - Kindness
February - Compassion
March - Humility
April - Volunteerism
May - Friendship
June - Philanthropy
July - Open-mindedness
August - Creativity
September - Intellectual Courage
October - Perseverance
November - Focus
December - Gratitude
And so this month I have started off with Kindness, and too begin I have a few questions for you ....
What does kindness mean to you? How have you been kind? How do you think you can be kinder in the future?
"Your Determination is Limitless"
- Elizabeth Wright