Who we are, how we act, when no one is looking is the true measure of our real character. I think most people have heard this idea or something similar to it.
While I totally agree with that, there is the flip side that is much more difficult handle these days it seems.
Character is also who we are and how we act when everyone is looking.
I can remember, one day while I was still in high school, standing at a corner waiting for a light to change. Across the street, was a young man who clearly had some challenges mentally. Along came three other boys who immediately started teasing and pushing him around. I still remember how angry this made me. With out thinking, I crossed the street and gave them crap…it wasn’t language my mother would have approved of I’m sure. Told those boy exactly what kinds of *ahem* jerks I thought they were and something along the lines of why don’t they crawl back under the rock they came from.
You know, I never thought at all about what I was doing. Okay I can admit some of this was temper lol. Later, still very ticked off, I relayed this what happened to some friends who were horrified; but not for the reason I expected. They pointed out that those three guys could have easily turned on me. Valid point…but would I have changed anything about what I did? No, I just could not have stood by and done nothing.
Then there is my Dad. Growing up I would see my father come home early in the morning, from a 12 hour night shift and begin shovelling the snow outside our house. He must have been exhausted, but he did it. I can’t even count how many (probably every time it snowed) times he also cleared the walk, steps and driveway of the elderly lady across the street as well. I don’t know if this lady knew it was my dad who did it, he never told her as far as I know. I would see him as I got ready for school or what have you. He would just shovel and come inside. Never said a word about it. He did this because he has values and character.
This is showing who you are when no one is really looking. Doing what’s right no matter what.
The flip side is a little different. Human nature provides us with a ‘follow the crowd mentality’. Truly, it’s a real thing. This is the what we do when we all stand around in a crowd waiting for ‘someone to do something’.
Character and values come into play here as well. It’s really easy to see in kids who have been brought up with a strong sense of self and raised with values and character. These traits are what prevents them from joining in bullying, from doing drugs or hurting others. They are okay walking away from situations even when their friends call them weak or other unpleasant things. They have faith in themselves.
I don’t see that very often, and that is just sad, and kind of scary.
Not many people speak out because they don’t want to be the different one. They don’t want to be seen as radical or upsetting the apple cart. They don’t want to be wrong or left out. What ends up happening is the bully gets away with it, the BS is figured to be true (or someone would say something right?) and nothing changes.
You know what? This has to stop. Look around. We are too worried about fitting in, to the point we are allowing things to go on that we should not. We seek the approval and validation of our ’self’ from others so much, that we have forgotten whether WE approve of who we are.
This starts at home where we teach our family that when no one is looking and when everyone is looking; our character matters. Our traits, beliefs and values matter. Isn’t it about time we acted like it?
When we see persons of worth, we should think of equaling them; when we see persons of a contrary character, we should turn inwards and examine ourselves.