When I was just a boy, I used to enjoy telling jokes and poking fun at people. More than once I was told, “you’re quite a character!” Well, based on that, I figured that “character” had something to do with goofing off and being funny. As the years passed, however, I learned a few things on the subject of “real character.” Many persons over the years have commented on the subject. The following quotations are just a drop in the proverbial bucket when it comes to the things that have been said and written about “character.”
“Good character is more to be praised than outstanding talent.” –John Luther
“Character is a by-product; it is produced in the great manufacture of daily duty.”—Woodrow T. Wilson.
“Character is always lost when a high ideal is sacrificed on the altar of conformity and popularity.”—anonymous.
“Character is what you know you are, not what others think you have”—anonymous.
“The hard times you go through build character, making you a much stronger person”—Rita Mero.
“The true test of character is not how much we know how to do, but how we behave when we don’t know what to do.”—John W. Holt, Jr.
“Fame is a vapor, popularity an accident, riches take wing, and only character endures.”—Horace Greely.
“It requires less character to discover the faults of others, than to tolerate them.”—J. Petit Senn.
“To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.”—Theodore Roosevelt.
“The best index of a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”—Abigail Van Buren.
“Men of genius are admired, men of wealth are envied, men of power feared, but only men of character are trusted.”—Alfred Adler.
“When I do good I feel good. When I don’t do good I don’t feel good.”—Abraham Lincoln. He also said, “I desire so to conduct the affairs of this administration that if at the end…I have lost every other friend on earth, I shall at least have one friend left, and that friend shall be down inside of me.”
“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”—Proverbs 23:7.
“Over the times thou hast no power… soley over one man thou hast quite absolute power. Him redeem and make honest.”—Thomas Carlyle.
“Conscience warns us as a friend before it punishes us as a judge,”—Stanislaus Leszczynski.
“A man is already of consequence in the world when it is known that he can be relied on, that when he says he knows a thing, he does know it—that when he says he will do a thing, he can do, and does it.”—Samuel Smiles.
“By nothing do men show their character more than by the things they laugh at.”—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
“Character is what you are in the dark.”—Dwight L. Moody.
“What a curious phenomenon it is that you can get men to die for the liberty of the world who will not make the little sacrifice that is needed to free themselves from their own individual bondage.”—Bruce Barton.
Richard L. Evans said, “Sometimes and under some conditions it is possible to escape from many things—from prison walls, from false friends, from bad company, from boring people, from old environments—but never from ourselves. When we lie down at night, we are there with our own thoughts—whether we like them or not. When we wake in the morning, we are still there—whether we like us our not. The most persistent thing in life (and, we have no doubt, in death also) is our own consciousness of ourselves. This being so, there is no more pitiable person than he who is uncomfortable in his own company—no matter where he runs, or how fast, or how far.”
The words of a popular hymn come to mind that, to me, sum up the basis of character: “Do what is right; let the consequence follow; Battle for freedom in spirit and might; And with stout hearts look ye forth till tomorrow; God will protect you; then do what is right.”—anonymous.