As humans on this planet, we should all care about character. It helps keep us from killing each other, to be sure. But more importantly, it expects that we pay for our own consumption, that we care for our own offspring, that we help those who can’t help themselves and that we respect the rights and desires of others to do the same. Yet, character all too often seems to get precious little attention.
In fact, modern dictionaries tend to list character as a set of distinctive traits rather than a more traditional reading that would associate the word with especially positive qualities. Perhaps, reality television players are distinctive while folks who raise their children, love their spouses and pay their taxes have character.
So, how does one hope to teach it? Is it even something that is able to be instilled by training? Or, must it come from within the person who exhibits it? Most likely, character must be modeled if we hope to pass the quality on to our subsequent generations.
The small town of Sheridan boasts many who lead by example. Among them is the family behind the Biddle Memorial Foundation. Brian Myers, a decedent of the founder and board member of the trust, remembers the generosity of his parents and grandparents even as he helps guide the philanthropic vision of the family’s giving today. It’s not easy. There are always more requests than resources. Everybody has a favorite project. The need is great. Fortunately, character doesn’t expect perfection, but it only demands determination. This month, the family, along with local business JBS United, committed to the creation of The Sheridan Fund, administered by the Legacy Fund, Hamilton County’s Community Foundation, to work for the benefit of the historic village. To me, this is an example to follow.