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By Dr. William Campbell, Kaplan University, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
All rational people pursue the concept of success, safety,
and security. Many believe it to be perhaps one of the most substantive goals a
person or community may have. In order to have success one must have a safe and
secure environment that allows opportunity for fertile thought to grow. It is a
significant premise for success. Fertile thought gives birth to innovation. Such
a goal is not achieved by chance. One should understand the elements necessary
to encourage such thought. Recognizing the value would greatly benefit today’s
society. Such threads of behavior not only show respect for the concept, but further
the appreciation for building the content of our character. No other individual
demographic element should be recognized as holding such a high place as the
value of the content of our character. Dr. Martin Luther King emphasized the
importance of the content of our character in his “I Have a Dream” speech (Rose,
2010). The dream was to set forth the outline for common respect for all people
and furthered the movement of equality for the United States. Our ethical and
moral code helps to shape the content of our character. Such emphasis on
character serves as the ethical foundational building blocks of our institution
and communities. Our character defines who we are. It sets the moral compass
and builds the ethical stage that will allow each of us to play our part. It
serves to guide us in the form of leadership we accept and the methods we will
implement to facilitate the governance of our society. The opinion presented will
seek to reflect on the importance of developing our own moral character. It
will support the concept of developing a culture that emphasizes the content of
character for our society.
in our Community by Recognizing Content of Character
The content of our character is reflected in our behavior. It
helps us to determine the next steps we will take as individuals. It guides us
in the assistance we provide to our neighbors and those in need. It applies to
the direct actions we take as administrators. It provides the climate for how
we serve our constituents, or actions we take that impact the stakeholders that
rely on our decisions (Park, Peterson, & Seligman, 2004). We recognize that
all citizens in our community may be different. We have learned to value our
diversity, but we must also be cognizant of the concept of unity. Such unity
helps us to achieve our common goals.
We take strength in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King who
emphasized the need to recognize content of character over our differences. We
learn to overcome our differences together and unite behind the common
brotherhood and sisterhood of humankind. We learn that by recognizing the
issues that must be achieved and putting aside the differences that set us
apart, we can become a positive, decisive source for meaningful change in our
society. This is not to suggest that a competitive spirit is to be dismissed. For
instance, the competitive spirit that exists between sports teams within
communities has created rivalries for challenge and excitement. Often, it has
been the very sport team that has brought together the diverse members of the
community. The priority and common thread of unity was winning the game.
Communities have reported reduced crime rates in inner cities where sports
facilities were supported. This author has interviewed members of battlefield
units engaged in deployment on battlefields. Soldiers responded that they were
not concerned with the diversity of the comrades-in-arms and the only issue of
concern was the content of their character and their ability to perform
critical tasks. The content of our character is reflected in our behavior.
Many believe that each person possesses character traits which dictate
the directions of their actions. Many subscribe to the belief that members
possessing positive solid character serve to build a productive society. They
believe that good governance would emphasize pursuing the correct moral action
in any given situation. They would take the high ground over achieving a simple
win and sacrificing the values that might contribute to the cohesive development
of our community as a whole
History has shown that societies where leadership has emphasized
cultural differences between populations without recognizing a common bond, thread
of unity, and respect have bred intolerance, hostility, and anger. This has
occurred throughout history. Such actions not only occurred in Germany and
throughout Europe, but also in the Balkans, Africa, Asia and many other parts
of the world. It is important to understand the commonalities that breed
hostility (Kazdin, 2011)
which have resulted in wars and genocides throughout history. In many cases,
the very differences that were emphasized among populations had resulted in the
The emphasis on difference has often impacted cultures that lived
and worked together peacefully and productively for decades. Members of the
community should be shown that they are part of a greater family, that all
members of the community are part of that family, and that all may contribute
to the positive purpose of the community. Under certain circumstances, economic
concerns and mental health may take a toll on the community. Based on my
experience, having served in many different nations and working with many
cultures, changing hearts and minds will be instrumental to move from a
segmented society to one of unity, thereby reducing violence and serving to
bring the community together as a whole.
Rose, C. (2010). King's dream: The
legacy of martin luther king's "I have a dream" speech. History, 38(4), 126-127. Retrieved from
Chun, R. (2005). Ethical
character and virtue of organizations: An empirical assessment and strategic
implications. Journal of Business Ethics,
Kazdin, A. E. (2011). Conceptualizing the challenge of
reducing interpersonal violence. Psychology
of Violence, 1(3), 166-187.
Park, N., Peterson, C., & Seligman, M. (2004).
Strengths of character and well-being. Journal
of Social and Clinical Psychology, 23(5),
Upton, C. L. (2009). The structure of character. The Journal of Ethics, 13(2-3), 175-193.
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