What does it mean to have character? A community comments

What does it mean to have character? A community comments

Composite of Character

Building character is a core component of an education at Crescent School, the independent school for boys in midtown Toronto. But what does character really mean? To find out, Toronto Life asked students, alumni and parents of Crescent School to define it for us, in their own voices.

Their responses were inspiring and enlightening. Here’s a selection of the best:

Ben, Grade 4
Character means being kind, respectful and helping people in need. It means playing fairly in sports and always working as part of a team. [It’s] always being honest, even if it means getting in trouble. I think character means always trying to be the best person you can be.

Ethan, Grade 5
Character means giving a hand to a friend when it is needed. Character is confessing when you do something wrong.

Conall, Grade 7
Character means being the best person you can be at all times, especially when things get tough.

Carter, Grade 8
Someone who has character is someone who has the motivation to work hard and make a difference. Having character means you see the world as it could be, not only as it is.

Ty, Grade 8
Character is the centerpiece of a loyal person. Character means being able to make mistakes, admit to them and learn from them. Character is thinking of others first and yourself second. Character is having respect for other people and having the courage to treat them right, regardless of who is around you.

Charlie, Grade 10
Character is what you do and how you act when no one is watching. It is how you react and overcome adversity.

Jackson, Grade 10
Character means going “the extra mile” every day. It’s the ability to be sympathetic, to treat people with kindness and respect, to stand up for what I believe in, and to take accountability for my actions.

Aidan, Grade 11
Character means doing what is right, not what is easy.

Devan, Grade 12
Character is having the confidence and perseverance to pursue your dreams.

Jennifer, mother of Jackson, Grade 10
I often tell my children that their character and their reputation are amongst the few things in life that are in our own control. Good character is important because it can act as our own moral compass, guiding our behaviour and decision-making. I believe that character defines our behaviour through the good times but also in navigating the bumps in the road that we all will experience.

Anne, mother of Andrew, Grade 7
Good character is important because it provides the foundation for what we hope our children will become: persons who stand up for what they believe, who strive for excellence, and who will make a difference in the lives of others.

Craig and Caroline, parents of Stuart, Grade 12
Character is more than personality; it is conviction, compassion, drive, integrity and spirit. It shapes the life you will live, and how you impact others’ lives.

Tony, father of Victor, Grade 4
Character determines our attitude to life and our responses to what happens in life. The world is changing so fast, good character may have our children better prepared for the changes, or even be ready to make changes themselves.

Naveen Gupta, Head Boy, Class of 2015
Good character means giving of yourself freely when your help is needed, but also knowing when you need help. It’s about looking adversity and failure in the eye and saying, “I am not afraid of you.”

Jay Mansoor, Class of 1992
Good character means having the courage of your convictions, acting based on your morality and not on what is popular, and, at times, knowing that – as George Washington said – it is “better to be alone, than in bad company.”

Robbie Mitchnick, Head Boy, Class of 2009
A person’s character is most easily measured by how they treat a person who can do absolutely nothing for them. When a man, in such scenarios where he has no self-interest and nothing personally to gain, still conducts himself in the same manner of unfettered respect, generosity, and compassion that he would when he has everything to gain – that is the ultimate testament of his character.

This post is brought to you by Crescent School. To learn how character education is an intrinsic part of the Crescent School experience, visit an Open House event this fall.