It’s the beginning of another school year, and check lists are everywhere. We have them for school supplies, clothes, extra-curricular activities. Schools even share lists that we can add to our own. Magazine articles are encouraging us to start our school routines early for smooth transitions. I have those lists also, but my most important list involves character building. These five traits are good for everyone to remember.
Choose your companions wisely.
Who you spend time with does matter. You will become more like those you hang around so be picky about who you choose. Do they have the qualities you want to emulate? If not, then choose someone who does. 1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.” That’s very true.
Proverbs 18:24 says, “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Don’t strive to have a large number of friends. It is wise to only confide in the most trustworthy. Having a couple true friends is by far more important for happiness and contentment than thinking you’re the most popular person. Your real friends will share your interests and values and stick with you through hard times, as well as the good times. Years from now, you will still be filled with joy to see a real friend.
Proverbs 13:20 says, “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.”
Watch your mouth.
Do your best to say positive, encouraging, good comments. There are plenty of people out there tearing others down. 2 Timothy 2:16 says, “Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.” It only leads you down a dark path you don’t want to follow.
Don’t go house to house being idle and gossiping, being a busybody saying things you ought not to (1 Timothy 5:13). Do not be idle (2 Thessalonians 3:6). Stay away from those who are idle lest you pick up bad habits. Don’t be a busybody or hang around busybodies. Do what is right. Warn those who do not listen and who are lazy. When you don’t commit yourself to accomplishing the tasks at hand and instead do nothing, you tend to get into mischief. There is always something good that can be done for someone if you find you are done with your own work.
Stay away from foolish and stupid arguments because they produce quarrels (2 Timothy 2:23). We must not quarrel. Be kind. Some people just don’t want to hear another’s point of view. Let it go.
Don’t compromise who you are.
1 Timothy 4:12 reminds us, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity.” Don’t neglect your gifts (v. 14). Persevere in your life and doctrine because others may not be as brave to be themselves so you will be a good example. In the end, most will admire you for staying true to who you are. You will never be happy trying to be someone you aren’t meant to be.
Do your best.
Work as working for the Lord and not people (Colossians 3:23). In doing so, you will please God and people. Hard work will pay off.
In everything, be kind. The world is full of hurting people just wanting to be accepted and loved. Love covers over a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). People will always remember the person who cared.
This is a good start. What others will you add?