In 1992, educators and leaders from various youth-related groups met in Aspen, Colorado to discuss character education and ways character could be emphasized in different environments. A final result of this time together was a statement lifting up essential values and goals. Referred to as The Aspen Declaration, it involved clear language about ethical values and “Six Pillars of Character.” The pillars included (1) Trustworthiness (2) Respect (3) Responsibility (4) Fairness (5) Caring and (6) Citizenship.
The list has been well received over the years. The pillars have guided educators in the work they have done. Some parties have even used the acronym “T.R.R.F.C.C.” (terrific).
As good as these pillars are though, they don’t matter if no one takes them seriously. Common ground on character is wonderful, but it means nothing if no one puts it to heart. Agreement on the proper ways to live can’t be voted on. It can’t be forced on others. It must be claimed and displayed in each individual.
The essence of character ultimately seems to come out in the choices we make. In the Old Testament, Daniel “decided that he wouldn’t pollute himself” in Babylon (Daniel 1:8, CEB). This choice showed the depth of his character and it impacted future decisions he would make. Our choices reveal our character and the person we believe God calls us to be.
I believe it is the Lord’s aim to nurture our character. God is satisfied when we develop a personal ethic of relating to others in a good way. In Psalm 15:1-2, we read, “Who can live in your tent, Lord? Who can dwell on your holy mountain? The person who lives free of blame, does what is right, and speaks the truth sincerely.”
Might we continue to do some soul searching and seek to live for the glory of God and others!
Blessings to you! Scott