A couple definitions first:
Character: Do you learn from your mistakes? Do you have a voice in the back of your head that helps you make the right decisions and prevents you from making bad decisions? It's who we are even when no one is watching. It's doing what is right even when no one is around. Everyone has character, and it's either good or bad. It determines your response to life's choices.
Good Character traits: Usually they are virtues such as honesty, integrity, dependability, loyalty, enthusiasm and humility. click here for more on this
Conscience: The niche in the back of your mind with a voice (perhaps of your mom or dad or Jesus) that says, "STOP!" when you are about to do something stupid. (read more here)
Respect: Do people appreciate what you do? Do you appreciate other people?
So when as a kid we hate when our parents are modest and are vague when we ask them questions like, "So, what do you think I should do with my life." As a parent and teacher, I find that I'm now the modest and vague adult.
You see, I became what I am by making mistakes and learning from them. If my dad would have encouraged me to become what I did not choose, then perhaps my life wouldn't have turned out as good as it did. My life is what it is through the development of character.
It's using the Free will God gave us. We make decisions and we reap the rewards or the benefits of our choices. When we make choices that result in undesirable consequences, we then (while developing character hopefully) make better decisions, wiser, safer decisions as we go through life depending on our personalities.
Imagine, for example, Ben Franklin's dad advising him to become a doctor instead of a journalist. His entire life may have resulted in something completely different, and he'd be a no-name today. America wouldn't exist.
So, what I'm saying is I think, as a dad, as a teacher, as a humble human, we learn that it's best to let fate take its own course, and the best way to do that, the best way to teach, is by example, and by encouraging kids to make their own decisions.
Thus, it's best not to come home from work and say, "My, I had a miserable day at work today." Or, if a student says, "I hear RTs have little respect," it's best to say, "This is a good career," as opposed to, "
I've learned that what makes a person what he or she becomes is not so much what