“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.” ―Albert Pike
Philanthropy is to give wealth back to society especially to the less fortunate. It is different from charity. Philanthropy involves the active involvement of the giver and stakeholders while the charity doesn’t involve any active involvement and engagement of the giver. The giver gives his wealth to bodies that take care of the philanthropic activities. Eli Broad rightly differentiated, “Charity is just writing checks and not being engaged. Philanthropy, to me, is being engaged, not only with your resources but getting people and yourself really involved and doing things that haven’t been done before.”
Impart Education and Character to Children
Education and character are the two things parents must provide to their children. If they are educated, they can lead to any part of the world with courage and confidence. They can earn their livelihood and provide meaning to their lives. If they are imparted with character, they will live with dignity and honor and achieve success with integrity. Hence, parents must provide education and character to their children instead of sharing their wealth. In this way, they bring up their children in the right way and add value to society. At the same time, educational institutions must impart moral education to students to enable them to grow as healthy citizens.
Emphasize Character Education
Most students work hard and smart to acquire educational qualifications. They often compete with their colleagues to stand out. One degree they must acquire is ‘character degree’. Other degrees don’t have any value if they are not equipped with this character’s degree.
Most students aspire to acquire educational qualifications to grab employment opportunities. These qualifications are essential to obtain employment. If they have character degree, they get enlightened and empowered throughout their lives. They can grow as healthy citizens to build a healthy nation and a healthy global society.
Billy Graham once remarked, “When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when a character is lost, all is lost.” That is the importance of character! Therefore, your character is your asset. Like education, your character cannot be taken away by others unless you agree to lose it. You can acquire anything and everything under the sun on the earth if you have a strong character. You can earn your lost money, lost happiness, and lost peace; if you have a strong character.
In leadership, people often talk about charisma. But what people must learn is to emphasize on character, not charisma. Charisma may give temporary popularity which is like a passing cloud. What character gives you is a permanent place in the hearts of the people beyond your lifetime far above these passing clouds to shine like a star forever.
Achieve Success with Integrity
Some students aspire to achieve success by hook or crook due to peer pressure and age pressure. The success achieved through wrongful means will not sustain whereas success achieved through rightful means will ensure your longevity. Additionally, it helps you command respect and become a role model and legend.
Elmer G. Letterman quoted, “Personality can open doors, but only character can keep them open.” To keep their doors open, students must emphasize on character degrees than on paper degrees that serve as a foothold to be placed permanently in companies. Although paper degrees provide them as a platform to enter employment, it is the character degree that provides them a permanent platform to ensure employability. It may be easy to be appreciated but tough to be respected by others. Success may be appreciated by others but when success achieved with integrity will be respected by others. Hence, strive to achieve success with integrity by equipping with a character degree.
Role of Educators
Educators must impart character education to students to check declining ethical values among students. Educators are the true academic leaders who build a society by imparting character education to students. Students must take interest to acquire character because the character cannot just be taught in the classroom. What educators can do is to inspire students to acquire character. Ultimately, it is the students who must show interest to acquire it based on their values and virtues.
Role of Parents
Parents must take responsibility. They must spend some time regularly with their children at home to connect with them to build a strong value system. They must prepare their children to face challenges in life. They must teach their children to emphasize character education rather than paper qualifications. Character education helps throughout their lives whereas paper qualifications serve for a short period. Parents must not be in a mad race to apply pressure on their children to acquire scores and grades in exams. They must encourage curricular and extracurricular activities apart from inspiring them to acquire character education. They must set an example to their children at home, and educators must set an example in educational institutions to impart the right values and virtues among students. In fact, both parents and educators must take collective responsibility in this regard. Educational institutions must emphasize the overall development of students rather than the partial performance of grades and scores. Hence, there must be coordinated efforts from all stakeholders including educators, parents, students, and educational institutions to impart character education to students.
Anne Frank once remarked, “Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.” Therefore, the final onus lies with students to choose the right values and virtues to acquire character degrees.
This advice may bring discomfort to some of the ambitious students. But it is worth waiting to achieve success with integrity. The intention is to inspire students to dream big to shine like stars with character education rather than to become passing clouds with their paper qualifications.
Lead by Example
The educators in educational institutions must take initiative to impart moral education. The parents at home must impart value system by leading with example. Currently, the technology is highly advanced and the children ape the negative things rather than the positive things. It is a fact that people accept negativity more than positivity. Additionally, children are much smarter than their parents due to the influence of their peers and technology. The peer pressure plays a crucial role either to make or break the children. Hence, parents must keep a vigil on their children and ensure that they are surrounded by positive and healthy friends. To conclude, emphasize moral education to children to enable them to grow as healthy and global citizens. It helps them achieve success with integrity and inculcates in them giving back to the society to build a better world.
Note: This article is an adapted excerpt from my award-winning book, “See the Light in You: Acquire Spiritual Powers to Achieve Mindfulness, Wellness, Happiness, and Success”