Thoughts + Articles

“Character Matters”

How Important is your character? Character is defined as “a person who is honest, has integrity, is courageous, responsible, dependable, and accountable.” Coach John Wooden said, “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.”

As a child did you ever break a window or a toy of someone else’s by accident? Did you take responsibility for your actions?

When my kids were young, I noticed a hole the size of a small fist, suddenly appearing in the wall of our hallway. The hole in the wall was covered by a piece of paper the same color as the paint on the wall. When the children arrived home from school I asked, “Who is responsible for the hole, the fist through the wall?”

Each child pointed to the other. I then asked for each child to make a fist to see who had put it through the wall. When it was determined which child had done the damage, we all went to the hardware store to buy the materials to fix the wall together.

My children quickly realized that it was better to “fess up” when they made a mistake instead of waiting for my husband or I to find out.

I read a story about Coach Wooden, which made a lasting impression on me. Coach Wooden had gone with his assistant Coach with a scholarship in his pocket, to visit a top high school athlete and his Mother. During the interview the high school athlete was disrespectful to his Mother. The assistant Coach looked at Coach Wooden, knowing the scholarship offer was in Coach Wooden’s pocket. They left the athlete and his Mother with out making an offer.

Coach Wooden said, “If he was disrespectful to his Mother he would be disrespectful to me!”

A person of character makes good decisions. Your character is like a seat belt. When you have character, like a seat belt, it pulls you back, so you don’t go out the window. You think before you speak!

Bob Costas, NBC Sportscaster observed, “John Wooden is a man of integrity and always remained true to what he believed.”

Bob Costas asked him, “How do you instill character qualities in the young people you teach and coach?”

Coach Wooden replied, “I required my players and students to treat everybody with respect, whether it be the custodian or the President of the University. I told them I expected them to always be considerate of others, and I never permitted the use of profanity.”

I was in a store recently where the manager of the store was yelling at an employee in front of the customers. On our journey through life, praise should be done in public and correcting someone should be done in private. Men and women of character should “pause” and think before they speak. They should respond not react to a situation.

A person of character owns up to their mistakes. When they make a mistake they admit it and apologize for it immediately! When you make a mistake and yell at an employee in public like this manager did at the store, an apology is in order.

President Thomas Jefferson said it best. “If you have to eat crow, eat it while it’s young and tender.”

What are the 3 traits you want to develop to be a person of good character?

1) A person of good character is honest, has integrity, is dependable, has discipline over their emotions, and is responsible and accountable.

2) A person of character leads by example and thinks before he or she acts. They are willing to “pause” and count to “10 or 20” and think through the matter before responding.

Coach John Wooden said, “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.”

3) When you make a mistake be willing to fess up and apologize. President Thomas Jefferson said it best. “If you have to eat crow, eat it while it’s young and tender.”

By following the three suggestions above you will develop good character too and be a role model to someone else!


Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM is an Best Selling Author, John Maxwell Team Member, Certified World Class Speaking Coach, sought after speaker, business owner, teacher, researcher, and concert artist. She helps businesses and organizations “Tune Up their Businesses”. Her innovative observations show you the blue prints necessary to improve and keep your business successful. She writes a monthly newsletter “Madeline’s Monthly article & Musical Tips Blog” and a monthly radio show “Madeline’s One Minute Musical Radio Show”. Her book “Leadership On A Shoestring Budget” is available on Amazon or Kindle. Contact Madeline Frank for your next speaking engagement at


This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 16th, 2016 at 8:11 pm and is filed under Articles. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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