What is Character?

Character is a person’s disposition to think, feel, and act in ways that help oneself and others. There are 24 strengths of character but we focus on 5 that we think will make a positive difference in children lives.

Grit

What is it?
Grit is a combination of passion and persistence. Having grit means pursuing your goal with vigor and focus over an extended period of time. Less gritty individuals are easily discouraged or frequently led off track by new interests.
Being gritty means:
  • Finishing what you begin
  • Staying committed to your goals
  • Working hard even after experiencing failure or when you feel like quitting
  • Sticking with a project or activity for more than a few weeks
Why is it important?
Research has shown grit to be predictive of achievement in especially challenging contexts in which stamina is key.
How can I cultivate it?
  • Challenge yourself in your practice.
  • Stay passionate about your purpose.
  • Cultivate a growth mindset and optimism.
  • Know it’s OK to quit.

Moral and Performance Character

Character Education Partnership published a paper that divided character education into two categories: programs that develop “moral character,” which embodies ethical values like fairness, generosity and integrity; and those that address “performance character,” which includes values like effort, diligence and perseverance.
Although we think there are equally important we chose to focus more on performance strengths.

Teamwork

What is it?
A collaborative person has the ability to work effectively and respectfully with people with different skill sets, personalities, work styles. Powerful collaboration is driven by incisive communication, respect, and support for the contributions of each of the team members. His mantra is “Together Each Achieves More”.
Being a Team-player means:
  • Help your colleagues and supports them providing active and constructive feedback.
  • Manage and resolve conflict when appropriate;
  • Maintain a healthy relationship with your team-mates;
  • Understand the team’s purpose and objectives and being committed to them;
  • Recognize and respect people’s diversity, individual differences, and perspectives;
  • Find your place in the team, your exact role and responsibilities.
    Why is it important?
People working in teams tend to learn more by their interactions with each other. There is a direct correlation between quality teamwork and personal life satisfaction. After all, what’s the fun in celebrating if you are going to do it alone?
How do you grow it?
  • Find an environment where you have to work in teams
  • Play in the same team with people you wouldn’t have been working with
  • Ask for feedback
  • Enroll on a team-sport

Zest

What is it?
Zest, sometimes referred to as vitality, is an approach to life filled with excitement and energy.Those with high levels of zest are full of life and energy, whereas those on the other end of the spectrum are generally lethargic and resigned. People with zest approach setbacks and serendipitous moments with enthusiasm. This excitement can help energize people around them. Athletes show Zest when they play with their smile on their face spreading inspiration all over around. They never forget they are playing a game.
Being zesty means:
  • Actively participated
  • Showed enthusiasm
  • Approached new situations with excitement and energy
Why is it important?
Zest and vitality correlate with autonomy and relatedness. Vitality may also be both a cause and effect of health and well-being.
How do you grow it?
  • Exercise!
  • Refuel
  • Become one with nature
  • Gain autonomy
  • Do what you love

Fair-play

What is it?
You do not let your personal feelings bias your decisions about other people. Fair-play means building friendship, starting with showing respect and always playing within the right spirit. On the field fair-play means honoring the game. Shows respect for your fellow athletes, coaches, and referees.
Being Fair-play means:
  • Treating others the way you want to be treated
  • Play by the rules and don’t take advantage of others
  • Consider the feelings of all people who will be affected by your actions and decisions
  • Show respect for the winning teams and encouragement for those who lose
Why is it important?
Fairness enhance children experience with sports. Fairness makes the sport more attractive for the supporters and an athlete who plays in the spirit of fair-play becomes easily an inspiration for the others.
How do you grow it?
  • Conversations
  • Role-modeling
  • Hall of Shame Behaviors
  • Hall of Fame Behaviors

Self-control

What is it?
Self-control is the capacity to regulate thoughts, feelings, or behaviors when they conflict with valued goals. Those who demonstrate self-control—and those who don’t—have different responses to tempting stimuli or otherwise challenging environments. Someone displaying self-control can delay short-term temptations that interfere with longer-term aspirations, whereas someone displaying low self-control will succumb to those temptations.
Showing Self-control means:
  • Remembered and followed directions
  • Paid attention and resisted distractions
  • Remained calm even when criticized or otherwise provoked
  • Kept temper in check
Why is it important?
Self-control predicts academic, personal, and economic outcomes, as well as health outcomes. One famous experiment showed that preschool students who demonstrated more self-control had better academic and social outcomes decades later than did those who showed less self-control as young children, including less drug use and higher SAT scores.
How do you grow it?
  • Choose your environment wisely
  • Tweak your environment to minimize distractions
  • Shift your focus
  • Shift your frame
  • Plan your response

Why is Character important?

Psychology, sociology, and neuroscience point to the existence of a set of developable character strengths that serve as building blocks for positive life outcomes. Research tells us that we can develop and practice these skills, just like we can with cooking, driving or calligraphy. We chose sports as the best environment to teach and cultivate these strengths of character. It’s never too late to do that.