A SAIL program entitled “What character are you?” was held on Feb. 21, 2007, in Sykes Student Union that focused on the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.” Senior Amanda Johnson presented the program. As the meeting began, the audience was asked to complete a check list that had eight questions. If the questions proved true, they would place a check on the line. Questions included “Am I a person people can trust?”, “Am I someone who is respected by others?” and “Am I a person that shares with others?” All of the questions gave insight to what type of character the audience members were.
Johnson asked members of the audience to share something about their personality and characteristics that they are proud of.
“I listen to people. I don’t listen to hearsay, only the people involved,” Johnson said. “I want people to be able to come to me and trust me.”
Johnson shared with the group “The Seven Steps to Better Decision Making.” The first step is to stop and think. Johnson explained the “count to ten” method to give people time to think before they act.
The second step is to clarify goals and to determine between short and long term goals. Johnson encouraged distinguishing between which goals are of the utmost importance, and which goals could bear waiting longer to be accomplished. She agreed that this tactic could help an individual figure out which goal to tackle first.
The third step is to determine the facts, gain information and then assess all of the information. Johnson talked to the group about when a conflict or confrontation occurs to be sure to get all of the information before deciding on a solution. Johnson affirms that with this tactic no one will be able to say that you did not handle the situation correctly.
The fourth step to better decision making is to develop opinions and obtain all possibilities. Johnson encouraged the group to keep an open mind for different things and to learn to empathize with people.
The fifth step in the process is to explore consequences, filter options and identify all of those involved in the outcome. Johnson suggested figuring out how a consequence can affect everyone differently.
“One punishment for the entire group will affect every person involved differently,” Johnson said.
The sixth step in the process is to make the decision and to remember to follow the golden rule of only choosing a decision that yields happiness. Johnson urged that people should not be afraid to admit they do not know an answer to a solution.
The seventh and final step in the process is to monitor, modify and reassess, or change, a decision if necessary. Johnson reminded the group that if a decision they chose did not go well, that they should not be afraid to change it.
“The most important part of character building is to not be afraid to admit when you are wrong” concluded Johnson.
The program continued by reviewing “Six ways to create a character-building college, organization and self,” comprised by the Shaping Student Character. This list included points such as emphasizing and reviewing the mission so that all have a clear and common view of the desired expectations. Another point on the list described adopting a holistic talent development view, with the primary purpose being to develop to one’s full potential.
“No matter what and everything you do, always emphasize that people can have full potential despite gender, race, religion or other classified groups.
“Be what you want to be,” Johnson said.
As the program wrapped up, audience members received pamphlets which listed the points covered. Johnson confidently told the group that with tips such as the seven steps to better decision making, the character of a person can shine through.