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Does Character Matter?
In a world in which most people take the easy way out, is it worthwhile to do things differently?

by Jerold Aust

Steve was popular. He was 6 feet tall and a good basketball player, and he could play the piano. He made good grades and had a great personality. He was a good listener and conversationalist. He was popular with young ladies.

But what set him apart more than any of his natural talents was something that must be cultivated. That something is called character.

Steve was different from most teenagers because he exhibited good character, especially when his peers made fun of him for not breaking rules. I watched him on occasion, and during those times I could see his inward struggle as his friends insulted and ridiculed him for obeying the rules.

It hurt Steve to sacrifice his friends' acceptance and friendship because of his values. He didn't hold to his values for just a day or a week. He held the line throughout his youth. I felt for him because I knew how much he wanted his friends' acceptance.

Although he suffered at the hands of his fellow teens, he never caved in. He knew character matters.
Even though few seem to disagree with Steve's values, his timeless example illustrates why character will always matter, especially when so many adolescents care nothing about it.

Steve's story--an average teen who placed more value on building good character then his friends' acceptance--holds lessons for all of us. Does character matter to you?

What is Character?
As we approach the third millennium of the Christian era, character isn't a priority with many teens. Try talking about character to your peers and you will see from their reactions how odd you look to them. That's not to say there aren't teens who don't put a premium on good character. I know there are others, like Steve, who dedicate themselves to living exemplary lives in an increasingly immoral world.

What qualifies as good character? Further, should it be important enough for you to shoot for it, especially if it sets you apart among your friends as a little strange?

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