This issue focuses on the development of character for all those in mission/aid, especially member care workers. We see character as the core qualities of a person. These qualities are consistent over time and also reflect one’s moral goodness. Character is shaped by our life experiences, including hardship and role models. We include two set of resources from a Christian Perspective and a Social Psychology Perspective, to stimulate your own character growth and to support you in your work.
Mistakes Were Made (but not by me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts (2007). Authors: Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson.
“At some point we all make a bad decision, do something that harms another person, or cling to an outdated belief. When we do, we strive to reduce the cognitive dissonance that results from feeling that we, who are smart, moral, and right, just did something that was dumb, immoral, or wrong.
Whether the consequences are trivial or tragic, it is difficult, and for some people impossible, to say, “I made a terrible mistake.” The higher the stakes—emotional, financial, moral—the greater that difficulty. Self-justification, the hardwired mechanism that blinds us to the possibility that we were wrong, has benefits: It lets us sleep at night and keeps us from torturing ourselves with regrets. But it can also block our ability to see our faults and errors. It legitimizes prejudice and corruption, distorts memory, and generates anger and rifts….
Most of all, this book explains how all of us can learn to own up and let go of the need to be right, and learn from the times we are wrong—so that we don't keep making the same mistakes over and over again.” Click here for more information and to listen to some superb interviews with the authors.
: MCA Resource Update(April 2012)
especially the links for quotes related to character and organizational health
from Transparency: How Leaders Create a Culture of Candor
(Bennis et al.) and the 20-minute TED Talk on The Lucifer Effect: How Good People Become Evil
The Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania has a fascinating Authentic Happiness website
. It offers free self-assessment tools, many related to character, which can be done after registering online confidentially. Examples: The Brief Strengths Test
measures 24 character strengths (with the related VIA
versions for adults and children) and the Compassionate Love Scale measures the tendency to understand, help, and support other people. Click here to see the list of 24 character strengths developed by Peterson and Seligman, organized in terms of six categories of virtue (Wisdom and Knowledge, Courage, Humanity, Justice, Temperance, and Transcendence).