Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What is the best way to build character in a child?

Delayed gratification.

For children not to get everything they want, the moment they think of it, is critical for building character.   When this happens, children suddenly need to start thinking about three key questions:  
- Do they really want it?
- How much effort will it take?
- How to explain the delay to friends and to themselves?

If the child really wants what he wants, then he will need to carefully plan how to go about getting it.  Then, he will have to execute the plan, do the work, save the money, and meet his stated goals. All of this, while constantly questioning whether it is still worth pursuing given the required effort and time.....and constantly having to explain to people around him why he is not there yet.  

How do you think he will feel when he finally gets what he wanted after all the effort and time? Imagine the sense of accomplishment. The feeling of empowerment.  Do you think he is better off after this experience than the child that got everything just by asking?

Delayed gratification helps children better understand how the real world works and to believe in themselves....it also teaches them a little humility.

Is this character building?

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