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When I was born, I had no character. After I was in the world for a while, I started to develop character. I had a bit of my dad, a bit of my mom and a bit of anyone else I came into contact with. The people that my parents chose to associate with had good character qualities, so I developed good character qualities as well.
After I was old enough to go to school, my parents had little control over who I crossed paths with. Teachers tried to teach us to make good decisions and do "the right thing". At school it was difficult to find friends who all had good character because of the way they were influenced at home. The kids in elementary school who had less than good character were not the ones to blame. There was a reason why they acted how they did and do the things they do. Generally it was their upbringing and home environment. At this point, they didn't have the power to control their influences.
During my middle school years good character and bad character was in the hands of each individual. Each person chose their own friends and who would influence their decisions and actions. Although, the children that had bad character to begin with were already disadvantaged. Their problems and decisions hurt the character of children with good character and so the children with good character changed their ways to match those of their companions. Fortunately, my first two years of middle school I had extremely good character but I wasn't doing well in school and I wasn't making any friends. In fact, my peers who had terrible character were excelling academically and socially.
Thus, my last year in junior high my character was transformed to meet the expectations of the "cool kids". I believe that this was due to bad judgment. When I chose my friends that year, I didn't select them because of their character, I chose them because I had fun with them. I was taught a way harsh lesson that changed my character in a major way.
When I entered high school, I was split from my junior high buddies, so I started over. I am now very thankful for that opportunity that gave me a fresh start. Because of my new faith of Christianity, I was introduced to a variety of friends who had the same goals as I did. I have grown and changed a lot over the past 3 1/2 years. Everyday I am learning from my mistakes and paying the consequences of any actions from the past and present. A lot of learning is still to come my way but I am a better person today than I was yesterday.
Generally I believe that I have good character. Sometime my decisions are based on whether people are looking or not, but altogether I remain good even when people are not looking. For an example, last week I was at Taco Bell with some friends for lunch and I was filling my drink cup at the soda fountain and I dropped a plastic drink cup lid on the floor. In deciding whether or not to pick it up, I looked around the restaurant and no one was looking so instead of picking it up ant throwing it away, I took my drink cup and sat down at the table. If someone had been looking at me, I most likely would have picked the lid up and I know that.
While writing this essay, I felt convicted as that memory popped back into my mind. As I look back at this incident, I would rather refer to it as laziness and not bad character. Although I have to remind myself that had anyone been next to me or watching me, that lid would be in the trash and not left for a person with good character to come along and pick it up.
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