We hold in our hearts the idea that our children will end up as upright, moral citizens contributing to society in self- fulfilling ways and passing down the family values to yet another generation. Many factors combine to create morality in people. The environment plays its part, the DNA (which is really an allotment of karma) of the child is there from birth and can override some messages from the environment, strong examples in family members can reinforce moral temperament as can something as simple as having a happy family meal time to share family values each day. Some would suggest that going to worship together is important and others would choose other forms of family sharing such as community service as essential for training children in morality. We want to build character in our children.
You cannot lead where you have not gone. So model for your children your own moral thinking. Reflect on this definition:
Character is not about a person’s temperament or personality. It is the moral restraint or encouragement of his temperament. It is the outward reflection of the inner person. Character reflects our morality and our morality defines our character. Virtues are independent of temperament. How children learn morality will differ, but what they learn about morality should be based on the same principles. Do not lower the standard to fit the child. Train the child to rise up to the standard. Don’t give before the child asks and don’t prolong crying to the point of helplessness. Train the child that he must put a demand on life, but also that life will respond to that demand with help.
Seligman and Peterson studied the world’s philosophies to determine seven global characteristics of character. These are optimism, social intelligence, self-control, zest, grit, gratitude and curiosity. I read a very interesting article dealing with teaching middle school and high school students how to have character. The article compared two schools – one a private upper class academy with affluent children and the other a public school with low income children on measures of character as defined. What they found was that the children in the prep school did not have higher character. The researchers also examined graduates of Harvard to see if they had these characteristics and found that amongst all these students, those who were not successful, no matter what their parent’s income, were lacking in these character traits. They found that those with high scores in grit had higher G.P.A’s regardless of their I.Q. as well. Thus, this study found that these 7 traits, including self-control are a greater predictor of success than I.Q.
The researchers had this advice for parents.
“…in fact, we have an acute, almost biological impulse to provide for our children, to give them everything they want and need, to protect them from dangers and discomforts both large and small. And yet we all know –on some level, at least –that what kids need more than anything is a little hardship; some challenge, some deprivation that they can overcome, even if just to prove to themselves that they can. As a parent, you struggle with these thorny questions every day, and if you make the right call even half the time, you’re lucky.”…
“The idea of building grit and building self-control is that you get that through failure….and in most highly academic environments in the United States, no one fails anything.” 
We lead with love. Hopefully it will be unconditional love. Sometimes, we overdo the love aspect and fall short on letting children experience challenging situations where they can learn to have “grit”. We rescue them by showering them with love in a moment when they need to struggle and overcome for themselves. These situations build strength of character and that is our end goal. So, keep your eye on the goal of character building and allow the child to self-determine their behavior in times of crisis. I think you will find, as you analyze your life, that having a heart full of gratitude for what you have received, your opportunities, your downfalls, people who have been kind to you, even those who have taught you something unpleasant about yourself that you didn’t want to know, will get you farther, faster. Grit sounds like a” gritty” word, but it seems research is saying that it is the staying power we need to keep on keeping on.
 Tough, P., (2011). The character test. New York Times, October 30
 Seligman, M. (2002). Authentic happiness, using the new positive psychology to realize your potential for lasting fulfillment. NY, New York: Simon & Schuster Inc
 Ibid. p. 205
 Tough, P. (2011). The character test. New York Times, October 30
Dr. Celeste Miller