New Message Reply About this list Date view Thread view Subject view Author view

From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Sun Apr 12 2009 - 15:41:42 EDT


Dr. Tesfa G. Gebremedhin, University of Bahrain


Human character is diverse and complex in nature. Our characters vary from
one person to another because we grew up in different environments. We all
live under the same sky, but we do not all see the same stars. We are all
different in so many ways and obviously that is what we have in common. The
qualities that make each of us different make each of us special because
every person that we meet knows something that we do not know. We can learn
from each other and have peace and harmony among ourselves, if we behave and
act with courtesy, respect, and fairness. How character counts in human
behavior is illustrated in the following circumstances.

Character always counts in our attitudes. Every one of us is born into this
world with two large bags suspended from our two shoulders, one on the left
shoulder and the other on the right shoulder. These two large bags are
suspended from our two shoulders so we can collect and fill them up with
garbage to keep our surroundings clean. Instead, we use these large bags for
collecting both our faults and our neighbor's faults. The large bag on our
left shoulder is full of our neighbors' faults, and the other large bag from
our right shoulder is filled with our own faults. Despite the fact that the
large bag on our right shoulder is filled to the brim with our faults, we
only dump out in front of others the big bag on our left shoulder filled
with our neighbor's fault. The point is that it is commonly observed among
many of us that we are quick to see the faults of others, and yet we are
often blind to see our own failings. We can not see outside of ourselves
clearly when we fail to see inside of ourselves deeply. Our characters need
to reflect positive attitudes towards each other.

Character always counts in friendship. Idris and Ismael were traveling
together, when a Bear suddenly met them on their path. Ismael climbed up
quickly into a tree and concealed himself in the branches. Idris, seeing
that he had no chance to run away, would be attacked by the Bear; he fell
flat on the ground. When the Bear came up and felt him with his snout, and
smelt him all over him, Idris held his breath, and feigned the appearance of
death as much as he could. The Bear soon left him, because he does not touch
a dead body. When the Bear was quite gone, Ismael descended from the tree,
and jocularly inquired of his friend Idris what it was the Bear had
whispered in his ear. Idris, his unhappy companion, replied, "He gave me a
piece of advice to never travel with a person who deserts a friend at the
approach of danger." If they had boldly faced the danger together, perhaps
they could have scared the Bear and evidently they could have saved their
good friendship. We must learn to leave our own lives from time to time and
think of someone else to do the right thing. It is commonly said with regard
to character that 'a friend in need is a friend indeed'.

Character always counts in our interdependence. A father and son were
driving home from a trip. A mile before they reached home they found a big
branch of a tree fell in the middle of the street. The son quickly said,
"Daddy, let me move the branch away by myself." The father said, "Son! it is
too big for you, you can't do it." The son usually has the ambition to be
confident and independent and replied to his father, "I don't want your
help; I can do it by myself." His father did not have any choice but to
leave him alone to try by himself. The son tried so hard to move the branch
away by himself, but he couldn't make it. At that point in time, he was too
proud to ask for help from his father. Any way, the father came out of the
car and gave him a helping hand to move the branch away. Together they moved
the big branch without any trouble. It also happens that many of us are too
proud to ask for help from anybody, even when we need it desperately. We
might feel strong and mighty and we might even think we are wealthy and
independent, but still we all need some help in so many ways and for so many
things in our lives. We usually forget that we do not live in isolation and
alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.

Character always counts a lot in admitting our failure. Two friends, Yonas
and Yacob, were going to their village located outside their town. It was
evening and they were not coherent because they had a little to drink during
the day. On their way home they saw some kind of creature sitting on the
ground a little far away from them. Yonas asked his friend, Yacob, "What do
you see far away in front of us?" Yacob responded, "I see a goat." Yonas
replied, "No, it is not a goat; it is a big bird." Yacob responded again
with confidence, "Then, why don't we bet for two dollars?" They both agreed
to bet for two dollars. After they moved forward and came nearer to the
so-called creature, they both observed when it flew away in front of them.
Immediately, Yonas claimed, "Didn't I tell you; it flew away. Therefore, it
is a big bird," Yacob did not want to admit that he lost the bet, instead he
replied, "I don't care if it flew away; it is still a goat." Well, we all
know who definitely won the bet. But the point is that many of us like Yacob
are too stubborn to be flexible and admit that we may be wrong and somebody
may be right. Many times, we fail to understand that wisdom tends to grow in
proportion to our awareness of our ignorance.

Character always counts in our own community and religious institutions so
that we can live in peace and harmony. A friend of me told me that there
once was a King who offered a prize to the artist who would paint the best
picture of peace. Many artists tried to paint the best picture. The King
looked at all the pictures, but there were only two he really liked and he
had to choose between them. One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a
perfect mirror, for peaceful towering mountains were all around it. Overhead
was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. All who saw this picture thought
that it was a perfect picture of peace. The other picture had mountains too.
But these mountains were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky from which
rain fell and in which lightening played. Down the side of the mountain
tumbled a foaming waterfall. This did not look peaceful at all. But when the
King looked, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in
the rock. In the bush a mother bird had built her nest. There, in the midst
of the rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest in perfect
peace. Which picture do you think won the prize? Certainly, the King chose
the second picture because peace does not mean to be in a place where there
is no noise and trouble. Peace is still situated calmly in the midst of all
turbulences, even in a noisy and busy stock market. Peace can only be
achieved through understanding each other. That is the true sense of peace
in real life.

Hence, many of us find it difficult to join and actively participate in our
own communities and religious institutions thinking that it is a hassle to
tolerate the everyday normal squabbles and quarrels. However, in the midst
of our squabbles and quarrels, we are always capable to tolerate, respect,
and love each other and develop the sense of belongingness among ourselves
and exercise the true meaning of peace in our relationships and
interactions. We need to understand that life is not always smooth, neither
is it always rough; it is the everyday ups and downs that we observe that
makes life interesting and challenging. If we happen to observe some noises
and turbulences in our communities and religious institutions, we have to
realize that they are just harmless elements of our lives that remind us to
tolerate and embrace each other as brothers and sisters. Thus, character is
just like a tree and reputation is like its fruits. The reputation is what
we usually care most, but the character is the real thing that makes anyone
a real person. Wealth, fame, and power cannot substitute for character. To
acquire and exercise good character is to be professionally and morally fit
for real life. Certainly, character always counts in our everyday humanly



New Message Reply About this list Date view Thread view Subject view Author view

© Copyright DEHAI-Eritrea OnLine, 1993-2009
All rights reserved