An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the house-building business to live a more leisurely life with his wife and enjoy his extended family. He would miss the paycheck each week, but he wanted to retire. They could get by. 

The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but over time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work.

He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end a dedicated career. 

When the carpenter finished his work, his employer came to inspect the house. Then he handed the front-door key to the carpenter and said, “This is your house… my gift to you.”
The carpenter was shocked! 

What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently.

So it is with us. We build our lives, a day at a time, often putting less than our best into the building. Then, with a shock, we realize we have to live in the house we have built. If we could do it over, we would do it much differently.

But, you cannot go back. You are the carpenter, and every day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall. Someone once said, “Life is a do-it-yourself project.” Your attitude, and the choices you make today, help build the “house” you will live in tomorrow. Therefore, Build wisely!

Character growth can come from trials or hardship experiences. Because of the awakening from the hard situation, people can focus more on what is important and thrive from the situation.

Adolescents can develop such virtues and strengths from “good parenting, close relationships with peer and family, positive role models, positive institutions, and various youth development programs.”

Happiness by most is determined by emotions.  However, happiness includes two additional criteria: engagement and meaning. Research suggests that having all three criteria (positive emotion, engagement, and meaning) is the most reliable method to ensuring life satisfaction.

Leading psychologists discovered six categories of virtues that will lead to happiness and life satisfaction. They are:

  1. Wisdom and Knowledge (creativity, curiosity, open-mindedness, love of learning, perspective)
  2. Courage (bravery, persistence, integrity, vitality)
  3. Humanity (love, kindness, social intelligence)
  4. Justice (citizenship, fairness, leadership)
  5. Temperance (forgiveness/mercy, humility/modesty, prudence, self-regulation/self-control)
  6. Transcendence (appreciation of beauty and excellence, gratitude, hope, humor, spirituality)

Recreation has the ability to offer positive and negative outcomes to character. Depending how you use your leisure time depends on the character you will build. If you watch too much TV, intake drugs, or participate in illegal activities in your leisure time, bad character will be built. To the contrary, experts suggest if you take the time to take an assessment of what’s needed and then frame a recreation activity around the need or the needed character strength positive outcomes are the result.

Building character strengths has several positive outcomes including:

  • Safer Neighborhoods
  • Cohesiveness within Families
  • Greater Unity within Society
  • Increased happiness
  • Preventing mental illness in adolescents
  • Promoting well-being

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