Week #4 – “Got Character?!”
There have been many words used to describe Rob in the month since his passing. The word board at the funeral home was filled with over 150 words or phrases. My parents have received hundreds of notes and cards, each filled with unique and loving descriptions of Rob from the many and varied corners of his life. And more words have spilled out on his tribute page, on Facebook, and on this blog. Hundreds of words — many different words — that all together assemble a complete picture not just of a human being, but the entirety of a soul.
The first words I jotted down were the Sunday after Rob died. I had been asked to prepare something for his funeral — but for the first time in a long while, I couldn’t string any thoughts together. So I just began writing down words that reminded me of Rob. Shortly after, I was standing outside talking to some people about him and a woman, standing a little too close by, uttered the words: “he was a real character”. I asked if she knew him, but she didn’t. She said those words just came to her. I wrote them down…and here we are! The first among a long list of words that are the fuel for this blog.
Most of what I’ve learned about character I’ve learned through screenwriting. Simply put: great characters make great movies. This is because they are integrated: we understand quickly WHO they are, WHERE they come from, WHAT they do, and WHY they do it. And because of that — good or bad — we are willing to follow them anywhere (at least for a few hours).
The root of the word “character” literally means to scrape or scratch (as in, engrave). Figuratively it means “symbol or imprint on the soul” — or “the collection of qualities that define a person.” (Thanks to etymology.com for this insight!) Together each week we look at a different aspect of Rob’s unique character — not only to celebrate his life — but to gain insight into our own lives, and learn to spread happyness to others in our path. What about you? Have you “Got Character?!”
Your assignment for the weekend: Assemble a list of words that people might write about you. If you’re really brave — you might even ask a few close friends for some ideas. What are the collection of qualities that define you as a person? WHO are you, WHERE do you come from, WHAT do you do, HOW do you behave, and WHY do you do it? Remember, flaws and foibles are okay…that’s the stuff heroes are made of! Write them down — all of them. Now ask yourself — is this truly who you are? Is this the mark of your SOUL? Are these your best character muscles? If so — tell us what they are! Flex ’em loud and proud! If not — pick one quality you want to develop or improve and start exercising it this weekend!
It is never too late to build good character! How will you start today?
Spread Happyness — and tell us about it in the comments!
10/10/14 by Grace Church
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