After being on the phone, in meetings or participating in video conferences or webinars all day I am usually very reluctant to look at any piece of technology after a particular time of an evening.
However earlier this week and not really knowing why I looked at a few messages I had just received on my phone.
The first message from our daughter in law Sarah who is married to our eldest son Jae was this photo of our granddaughter Ruby;
The second from our daughter Elle who lives in the US with this photo of our grandson Stacy.
Now to say I was proud is an understatement, as a father and a grandfather you are always going to have reason to proud of the children. However, these photos represented so much more for me.
But rather than explain I have decided to repost an article I wrote for our monthly newsletter The Full Nelson. It was originally published in March 2006.
If you would be so kind as to afford me the 5 mins required to read this article then look closely again at the photos, you will understand the level of pride in both our children and grandchildren.
March 15th 2006-CHARACTER, WHAT’S IN A NAME-BILL NELSON
Although I can never really remember a single instance where they actually came out and directly told me to respect and uphold our family name, there were many instances where my parents gave me direction or told me stories that influenced my actions and thinking, so that the end result was that I didn’t do or say anything that might tarnish our family name and traditions.
My father was one for instilling certain standards, morals and philosophies that would lead to what he called ‘Character’. Was he successful in doing that? I want to think so, but the real people to ask are the people that I spend time with or come into contact with regularly. But my parents’ legacy to me, and one that I cherish greatly, is this ‘Character’.
What is Character? Character is a set of principles and standards by which you live your life and with which you represent yourself and family. As we are all different, our standards, philosophies and character are correspondingly different, but they are all equally important.
Some of the elements of ‘Character ‘that I have been reminded of over the years include:
-Life rewards action
-Look in the mirror and allow yourself to be open and honest with what you see
-You are bound by the element of truth in all you do and say
-Stand up for what you believe in, firstly with yourself and secondly with others
-Give credit where credit is due: don’t take responsibility or accolades for something that is not truly yours
-Understand that your ongoing development is dependent upon recognising that you don’t know everything
-Judge your behaviour against your standards and your performance against your potential
-Character is truly defined by the decisions you make when all else could be lost
-Truly believe that you possess the potential to do and to be anything that you desire; that is as long as you are prepared to work hard enough to achieve it
-Be the master of your thoughts and the servant of your conscience
-Have the confidence, passion and commitment to live your dreams
-When it comes to standards, be strong
-Have the ability to walk with kings and queens but never lose the common touch
-Character is developed and nurtured from within
These elements of Character (and many others) were handed to me by my parents. Now it is my responsibility to develop the principles of Character that Joanne (my wife) and I are going to hand down and try to instil in our children.
I was lucky that the legacy that was passed from my parents to me was one that I understood, agreed with and respected. It was a philosophy that had been created from their life experiences to help me develop mine.
We continue to educate and refine ourselves through the teaching and inspiration of a great many people that we are lucky enough to come into contact with.
These lessons that we learn and implement in our lives make us the people we are. They provide us with the direction to live our lives in a particular manner.
We must also remember that Character does not necessarily leave this earth when we do. We influence our children in a variety of ways, just as our parents did: sometimes good, sometimes bad. Not everyone will be happy about the legacy that was passed on to him/her from his/her parents.
Time gives us the wisdom to understand not only the principles but also the thought processes and direction behind this legacy.
Although we have created some of our principles, the influences of our families still prevail. The significance to us of our parents’ teachings has come with time and understanding.
If we are to impart principles for our family to include in their life, it is essential to communicate what these standards and philosophies are. Real success, however, comes from our ability to teach our children the significance and benefits of these principles if they choose to follow them.
We cannot change the past, but we can play our part in developing the future.
The creation of Character is a legacy that will be with our children every day of their lives…and hopefully beyond.
The Journey Continues!