I often find it hard to simply disconnect from the business of my life when there are constant distractions such as work responsibilities, social media, obligations to my family and friends, and a million other things pulling me in every direction imaginable. It seems as though I finish one thing and before I can say, just give me one second, there is another task waiting for my attention.
While the commitments in my life are important, just as I’m sure yours are to you, I think it is important every once in a while to take a step back, separate ourselves from the business of our lives and just sit in silence. I have found the most clarity, peace and happiness in those moments of silence when I have the opportunity to take a self-inventory of my current status in life. When I can really look deep inside and ask myself: What defines me? Do these qualities inspire good? Am I a good role model not only for my children but for everyone I come in contact with? Am I on the right path or are there things that have taken me off my path? What are those things that have moved me in the wrong direction? What do I need to do or change moving forward?
The question that always pulls at me the most is, “What defines me?” If you were to ask those closest to you, your spouse, children, and/or friends, “what defines me,” what would they say? Would they say, “You are really charitable, friendly, and loving but you always seem to be attached to your phone or computer.” There are a thousand things they could say, but when you personally think about that question, “What defines me?” What is your answer? Be honest with yourself and really take a deep look at what characterizes you as a person.
In one of his videos, Matthew Kelly states, “Everyday we make choices. Many can seem inconsequential, but one builds upon another and in the end our choices define who we become. Little choices matter because they become the foundation for bigger decisions. But sometimes it only takes one decision to change the direction of your life for better or for worse. WE are not the victims of our bad decisions; we are the AUTHORS of our bad decisions.” Essentially, we are defined by our decisions.
As parents we are called to be virtuous role models to our children, which is not always an easy task. Every choice we make has a huge impact on how our children view us and how they make decisions as well. What defines you will often define your children’s future. We model what we were taught as well as the behaviors we witnessed as children whether we see it or not. It always makes me laugh when I catch myself reacting to a situation the way my father or mother would. Those little sayings, “like father like daughter” or “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”, always seem to creep into my head.
It is important that we take time to reflect on our everyday decisions and ask ourselves, “Do I want to be defined by this decision? Will anything good come from this choice? Is this the example I want to set for my children? Would I want my children to be defined by this decision if they were in my shoes?”
While we reflect on these questions it is essential to realize that no one is perfect but that we can always strive to be better. It helps to keep your goal of being a virtuous role model at the forefront of your mind. Share this goal with an accountability partner; someone that can help you stay on track in order that your life may be defined by your virtuous decisions.
Families of Character is an online, discussion-based course that develops character through virtues. If you would like information on the Families of Character program please visit familiesofcharacter.com
Submitted by: Christie McCormack