Building Character

Posts: 111

Building Character

Post#1 » Wed Jun 17, 2015 10:22 am

One of the goals of Brigham Young University is to build character. I found this quote from their introductory material inspirational or of good report:

Character Building:
Contemplate the traits of character you want to build during your study at BYU.

A firm, unchangeable course of righteousness through life is what secures to a person true intelligence.

—Brigham Young

Students perfect their quest for character development by coming unto Christ.

Because it seeks to educate students who are renowned for what they are as well as for what they know, Brigham Young University has always cared as much about strong moral character as about great mental capability. Consequently, a BYU education should reinforce such moral virtues as integrity, reverence, modesty, self-control, courage, compassion, and industry.

Beyond this, BYU aims not merely to teach students a code of ethics but to help them become partakers of the divine nature. It aspires to develop in its students character traits that flow from the long-term application of gospel teachings to their lives. This process begins with understanding humankind’s eternal nature and ends with the blessing of eternal life, when human character reflects in fully flowered form the attributes of godliness. Along the way, the fruits of a well-disciplined life are augmented and fulfilled by the fruits of the spirit of Jesus Christ — such as charity, a Christlike love for others, which God “hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ” (Moroni 7:48). Students thus perfect their quest for character development by coming unto Christ through faith, repentance, and righteous living. Then their character begins to resemble His, not just because they think it should, but because that is the way they are.

President David O. McKay taught that character is the highest aim of education: above knowledge is wisdom, and above wisdom is character. “True education,” he explained, “seeks to make men and women not only good mathematicians, proficient linguists, profound scientists, or brilliant literary lights, but also honest men with virtue, temperance, and brotherly love.” Consequently, a BYU education should bring together the intellectual integrity of fine academic discipline with the spiritual integrity of personal righteousness. The result is competence that reflects the highest professional and academic standards — strengthened and ennobled by Christlike attributes.

Thus understood, the development of character is so important that BYU “has no justification for its existence unless it builds character, creates and develops faith, and makes men and women of strength and courage, fortitude, and service — men and women who will become stalwarts in the Kingdom and bear witness of the... divinity of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is not justified on an academic basis only.” Rather, it fulfills its promise when “the morality of the graduates of this University provide[s] the music of hope for the inhabitants of this planet” (President David O. McKay).

Every part of the BYU experience should therefore strengthen character — academic integrity in taking a test or writing a research paper; sportsmanship on the playing field; the honest reporting of research findings in a laboratory; careful use of university funds derived from the tithes of Church members; treating all other people with dignity and fairness; and wholehearted acceptance of commitments made to bishops and parents. Character is constructed by small decisions. At this personal level of detail, BYU will realize its hope of teaching “those moral virtues which characterize the life and teachings of the Son of God.”

I like that. What about you?

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